I’m clearly a sucker for a puzzle book I can share with my daughter, and so I was happy that Chuck Whelon, a cartoonist, children’s book author, and boardgame illustrator, let me know about his Kickstarter project Wizard Pickles.
Once I saw the PDF, I quickly backed it myself. More puzzle books in the world are a good thing.
The art style in this tale of country fairs, wizards, and pickle gnomes evokes the Where’s Waldo series, as do many of the puzzles: Find some things in a chaotic picture. But the “thing” to find might be a door meeting a long list of criteria in a town square full of doors that are all somewhat similar.
That’s only one of the puzzle types you’ll find, though. Two spreads feature a maze you have to navigate. Another features a logic puzzle of truth and lies. Another makes you deduce which square on a map is the one to visit. Another is a spot-the-difference puzzle with a twist: Some of the items on one side are missing, and can in fact be found on the other pages.
Meta-references such as that are easy to find, giving the book a distinct Graeme Base feel. And the meta-references are just the start. A seemingly minor plot point at the beginning becomes an overarching puzzle to tackle. Practiced solvers will see many clues to this last challenge throughout the book, some obvious and some less so.
I’ve not yet dug into the puzzles deeply enough to solve them all, but I’m looking forward to paging through it leisurely with my daughter when the book ships.