Christmas Chaos

(2013)
Christmas Chaos
Zoo Hideout

Are you looking for a fun gift idea?  Something new for “Where’s Waldo” fans?  Or just a way to keep the kiddos busy while they wait for Christmas?  Then bring a little “Christmas Chaos” into your life!  It’s one of several books in the “Seek It Out” series by Picture Window Books, a division of Capstone Press.  The book features 14 scenes, laid out in two-page spreads, which feature a different winter holiday experience: the center of a busy shopping mall, Santa’s workshop, ski slope, skating rink, a gingerbread village, a Kwanzaa celebration, among others.  Many objects from penguins and peppermint sticks, snowflakes and stockings, to fishing poles and backpacks are cleverly hidden among the other objects, animals and people in the scene, sometimes in the least expected places.  The unexpectedness, along with expressive character faces and actions, will provide giggles and engage imaginations while readers seek and find the objects.  The puzzles become more challenging from first to last, with between 6 and 12 objects to find on each page.  The objects pictured on the list are in the same relative size, and in grayscale, so part of the challenge is to find each object by shape and tone rather than size and hue.  The final puzzle invites readers to search through the whole book for the answers.

Another book in the series, Zoo Hideout, includes many scenes from a busy zoo complex, including a reptile room, a petting zoo, a butterfly garden, a veterinary hospital, a whale and dolphin show, even a gift shop.  I found it even more engaging than the holiday offering; the illustrations by Simon Smith and Moreno Chiacchiera are more goofily charming, and the unexpected locations of some of the objects are funnier.  But Christmas Chaos hits the spot in this season of the year. There are more books in the series to choose from, and they're all fun—take a look!

Christmas Chaos and Zoo Hideout are recommended for ages 5 and up.

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