Review Blog

Nov 07 2014

Where are Santa's Pants? by Richard Merritt

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Little Hare, 2014. ISBN 9781921541506 Santa has been on a diet - perhaps he has been paying attention to all the messages about healthy eating - and now he's so trim his pants have fallen off!! Shock! Horror! Christmas cannot have a Santa with no pants and so the readers are challenged to find them hidden in these brightly-coloured, strikingly-detailed, double-spread pictures that cover a variety of locations from the North Pole to the Post Office. Each pair is a different colour and pattern so they blend in well with the background. There is also a lucky sixpence (the UK equivalent of Australia's 5c) as well as eight reindeer to be found, adding to the puzzle as well as the shareability of the book - each child can search for something different. And as they search within particular contexts, there is much to see and talk about. In the style of Where's Wally?, this Christmas title proved a winner with Year 3-4 on Friday! Given over 30 brand new books to choose from, this one created the most interest and the person who 'won' was so engrossed in the puzzles that she didn't get around to doing the review. That says it all to me. If you're engaged with a picture book for over 45 minutes, then it is offering something special. Puzzle books of this nature intrigue younger readers (even Year 6s like the challenge, and, in this case, even adult eyes were tested) and they all contribute to the development of the child's visual acuity - the ability to see fine detail and essential for writing, spelling and information literacy as they examine pictures for clues. This is a new, seasonal addition to your Pick-a-Puzzle section that will delight a new audience each year. Barbara Braxton

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