Look-Alikes Seek-and-Search Puzzles
Written, or rather, created by Joan Steiner
Little, Brown and Co., $7.99
Ages 6 and older
What it's about: This collection of picture puzzles is all about what is hidden. In every scene, the key images, such as a storefront, a carousel or an astronaut, are actually composed of ordinary, everyday objects like clothespins and marshmallows. The effect is quite disorienting. A reader could easily find herself staring for minutes at a rural vista, only to realize that she is really looking at a kooky assemblage of doormats, string beans, tape dispensers, stuffed animals, tater tots and matches. Steiner creates challenges for each image. Some pages have a list of objects, each of which the reader is to find in the accompanying photograph. Other times, the reader must find all the look-alikes. (This is what Steiner calls the ordinary objects impersonating other objects.) This task is harder still as the whole picture is composed of look-alikes, so nothing is what it seems. In addition, Steiner has taken pictures of some scenes, such as construction zones and bathrooms, changed several things either by omission or addition, and placed the before and after pictures side by side on the page. The reader is then asked to find the differences. The book is lengthy and will take any child a good amount of time to work through. In the back, additional searching tasks are listed for those seeking a real challenge.
Why read it: Steiner's care and imagination stitch together the ordinary and the extraordinary. Decadent images fill the pages with cluttered grandeur, while a bold, friendly text font maintains the book's approachable feel. This puzzle book can cause fits to those, like myself, whose eyes glean a picture of a home, looking for a miscellaneous object, only to find themselves shouting to an empty room, "Where is the baby bottle nipple?!" But, for those with a patience for puzzles, this is the perfect addition to any shelf.
-- Hadley Newton, Special to the Star-Telegram