Today I have the pleasure of talking about a handful of lovely gift ideas for the holiday season! Thanks to Raincoast Books, I will be featuring two fantastic puzzles- a Winter Snow Globe foil puzzle illustrated by Joy Laforme, and a Superheroes Two Sided On-the-Go Puzzle* for kids. And thanks to partner Candlewick/Penguin Random House Canada, I will be talking about Martin Handford’s famous Where’s Waldo? starring in a new set of books, and a Gigantosaurus puppet board book. I hope you enjoy!
Galison has a fantastic and expansive range of puzzles- we have purchased a number of beautiful Galison puzzles before!- so I was delighted to receive the beautiful Winter Snow Globe seasonal puzzle for review. This 500 piece foil puzzle, featuring the splendid artwork of Joy Laforme, features a cozy, wintry moonlit scene inside in snow globe, complete with a ‘Season’s Greetings!’ message affixed to the snow globe’s base. There are pretty reflective gold details included outside of the snow globe (the stars) and in the snow globe scene (the trees, inside-the-house decorations, and more!), as well as the golden foil on the season’s greetings message. A full-colour print out of the puzzle is also included in the box. An absolutely gorgeous puzzle for the season- whether for celebrating the winter season, or for Christmas specifically- this is a super appealing, gently nostalgic yet decidely modern puzzle. This puzzle is also perfect if you are on the lookout for something less intensive- i.e. under 1000 or 750 pieces!- for yourself (or for the family)!
An eco-friendly two-in-one puzzle from Petit Collage– an award-winning toy company with a focus on sustainability- the Superheroes Two Sided On-the-Go Puzzle is a forty-nine piece puzzle, recommended for ages five and up. With the puzzle pieces housed in a superhero-themed patterned recycled polyester zipper pouch, this Superheroes puzzle is truly designed for take-and-go ease (though of course the puzzle can also be played at home- as we have been doing!). One side of the puzzle features a nighttime scene of the triumphant superheroes in full costume, while the second side features a daytime scene of the unmasked heroes coming to the rescue in a myriad of ways. It’s a terrifically fun set, made all the better by the fact that there are two playing options for puzzling at under fifty pieces total. If younger kids are intimidated by larger-scale puzzles, this is a really decent size to try out. Included in the zipper pouch is a small full-colour print of the puzzle; and there is the added feature of the nighttime puzzle pieces being glossy, and the daytime puzzle pieces being matte. Wins all-around!
Where’s Waldo? The Ultimate Waldo Watcher Collection by Martin Handford is a boxed set that includes seven classic Where’s Waldo? titles. Included in this set are: Where’s Waldo?; Where’s Waldo? Now; Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey; Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood; Where’s Waldo? The Wonder Book; Where’s Waldo? The Great Picture Hunt; and Where’s Waldo? The Great Paper Chase. The seven paperbacks have been redesigned- formatting throughout the books is cohesive, and you can see in the photo (to the left) how the spines of the books (when lined up in numerical order) make for one cool Waldo design! Each of the books also contain multiple extra search challenges for the super-searchers! The seventh title included, Where’s Waldo? The Great Paper Chase is a special edition unto itself which includes: a Muddy Swamp Jungle Game (all perforated paper pieces included); and a Wacky Waldo Circus (all pieces included), in which you can carefully tear-out the perforated pieces, and put together a fun circus show using the pieces- and your imagination! End papers for book seven include an attached envelope at the book’s back-end- a handy storage place for all of the game pieces. For the Where’s Waldo? fan, this set could not be more perfect. My daughter has been into all sorts of seek-and-find books pretty much since she was a toddler and now, at seven, still can’t get enough of seek-and-finds! I can tell you that she is absolutely taken with the Where’s Waldo? books and this set in particular. It has been a special treat for us to read and search together sharing one Waldo book, or just sitting side-by-side, each with a Waldo book in our lap.
Gigantosaurus: Roar, Giganto, Roar! (Cyber Group Studios), based on characters from the original book by Jonny Duddle, is a large-format board book featuring a soft-plush dinosaur puppet. A popular series of books- also an animated television series under the same name!– the Gigantaurus series stars a troupe of four young dinosaur friends getting into all sorts of adventures, and a gargantuan dinosaur (who really isn’t all that bad!) known as Gigantosaurus. In this board book adventure, dinosaurs Mazu, Tiny, Rocky and Bill ”are holding a roaring contest” and though ”Rocky is sure he can beat Giganto” there is a problem: “the huge dino is asleep!”. The group of little dinosaurs decide that they- with the readers’ help!- are going to try and wake the sleeping giant. By using the sturdy and nicely detailed attached Gigantosaurus hand puppet, this interactive story comes to life: the puppeteer can bring Giganto to life with actions such as snoring, chomping, and dancing, and readers/listeners can act along, make noises, and giggle along with the story. This is a super fun, active tale- one that both of my kids have been enjoying tremendously at bedtime. It is a wee bit tricky to navigate turning the pages with Giganto’s rather generous head in the way, but kids don’t mind- and you get better with practice! The addition of the puppet is pretty fantastic and a big, eye-catching draw. The puppet feature, of course, is not the best in terms of practicality, maintenance and hygiene concerns for a classroom, school or public library at the moment, but for home use it is a winner. For the dinosaur enthusiasts, for readers who enjoy the other Gigantosaurus books or TV series, or for those who enjoy series such as Chris Gall’s Dinotrux, this is an excellent (and rambunctious!) pick.
I received the Season’s Greeting 500 pc Galison Foil Puzzle and Petit Collage’s Superheroes Two Sided On-the-Go Puzzle courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. I received The Ultimate Waldo-Watcher Collection and Gigantosaurus: Roar, Giganto, Roar! courtesy of Candlewick Press/Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own. *The Petit Collage Superheroes puzzle is set to release on January 18, 2022 from Chronicle Books. Other items featured have been published and are currently available.