In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Dear Annie,

I can imagine your grandma, my mother, getting competitive about Easter egg hunts. She was always very good at finding things -- she had the mathematician's eye for pattern. Grandpa used to talk about her abilities to find four-leaf clovers in a field of three-leaf ones. I don't know if she ever encountered the Where's Waldo books, but I suspect she would have aced them.

It's travel season in the toy store. It seems one school or another has been on spring break for the past five or six weeks: this always drives up sales of activity books that one can do on a trip. I've met parents who say their four or five year-old can find Waldo. I have a hard time finding him in his oh-so-busy pictures; I think of the Waldo books being more satisfying for the 7 and up (and up) crowd. Here's a bit of him:

Maybe because it's a detail, I'm actually able to find him.

I've just discovered an even funnier search-for-it book:
Find Chaffy
, by Jamie Smart.
Chaffies are small white lop-eared objects which say "meep" and travel in packs. The book starts with ten to find in a Waldo-esque montage of pandas. One of the ten has gone native, taking on panda coloration, and stays behind as the nine move on to a two-page spread of cats. Another stays behind and they continue through
robots, dinosaurs, pigs, sheep, ninjas and more.

This is a little less than a sixth of a two-page spread with all ten in it. The most useful hint is that the Chaffies are much smaller than the pandas.
 I can find two Chaffies in this one*.  Anyone see any others?  The Chaffies have a whimsical bent to them.  I didn't manage to include the panda picnic with teapot that's a bit below this detail.  But there's lots of good stuff to find.

My favorite searching book is probably the Look-Alikes series, by Joan Steiner.  One isn't looking for anything specific: you're just looking.  At first it seems like a familiar dollhouse-like scene, but as your eyes adjust, you realize the majority of the objects are something else.  As in this one, from Look-Alikes Jr.:
 I love looking at them.  The author's list of objects is below**, after the Chaffy spoiler.  But take some time looking at it before you read the list.  I totally did not figure out the wing chair.

Happy hunting.



*Chaffies: : one along the bottom edge, the other on the left side, about midway down the picture

** Left to right: maple seeds, seed packet, green ribbon, compact disc, brass drawer pull, kernels of corn, crayons, candy fruit slices, lasagna noodles. Television: eyeshadow box, ball-headed pin.  Cabinet: wrapped candy bar, Triscuit crackers.  Reading lamp: Bell, ball-peen hammer, paperweight.  Wing chair: peapod, candle, chess pieces. Dining area: Christmas cookies, tambourine, spool of thread.  Rocker: barrettes, hairpins, slice of kiwi fruit. Planter: Napkin ring.  Fireplace: Christmas ball ornament, mint candy, grommet, toy diamond ring, marble, doll shoes, silk autumn leaf, magnets, cinnamon sticks, chocolate bar, paper binder clip.

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