Last year I had a list of books that involve hidden pictures and searching–my middle daughter really loves those. Well, it turns out that my youngest (now two and a half) has also taken to them. Among the older list, the MoshiMoshiKawaii books have been a huge hit (though I must admit I get tired of reading them over and over again). So, here are a few more alternatives that I’ve been sneaking in when she lets me.
This sequel to The Bear’s Sea Escape finds Little Bear back in the forest after a nice winter hibernation. He comes out of his cave and starts to look for Papa Bear … but where did he go? Unlike the previous two volumes, The Bear’s Surprise has a cut-out on each page that reveals a little bit of the next page, making for some fun windows and surprising reveals. While it’s not exactly a hidden picture book, there are lots of details on every page of this oversized picture book for little ones to enjoy.
The third in the Mamoko series now takes place in a medieval land, with knights and castles and dragons … and a familiar little alien tourist. Like the previous books, the bulk of the book is wordless–just large, two-page spreads filled with characters doing different things. At the front of the book there are short introductions to many of the characters that appear, along with a question for each one: Who helps out Royal Standard-Bearer Edwin Clench? Who needs Cecily Peck’s aid today? As you flip through the pages and follow each character, you’ll piece together a story for yourself. And if you need more, there are coins and mushrooms scattered throughout every page, too.
Like Teckentrup’s The Odd One Out, this book is filled with fun, colorful animals and whimsical poems. However, instead of finding the one animal that stands out, this one is all about finding the two matching animals (from a sea of nearly matching animals). My toddler had a little more difficulty understanding the concept of this one, but she still loved looking at all the animals and pointing out their features.
This one may be one of my toddler’s favorites–we got an advance proof and nearly wore it out, and now that we have the finished book she’s back at it again. It’s a little too easy for my older daughters, but just right for the 2-year-old. Each spread has different types of things to look for: on one page, you just need to spot the squirrels and rabbits hiding in the forest. On another, you’ll be looking for specific dogs in a crowd. Some pages give you multiple types of things to find: all the hooting owls, all the baby owls, and all the sleeping owls. The range of illustration styles is nice, too, from loopy line-based doodles to collage-style illustrations to two-color geometric shapes. (Search and Spot Animals releases on October 13.)
Here’s a searching book with a twist. At the beginning of the book, you’re introduced to a bunch of different animals on a map of the world, with signs showing each animal’s name and where it lives. In the rest of the book, you’ll see a group (herd, pack, flock) of an animal in its native habitat … along with one interloper who’s out of place. Since the visiting animal isn’t named in the text, you’ll just have to figure out what it is yourself.
Pierre is definitely a spiritual successor to Waldo: this oversized book is filled from edge to edge with people and objects in huge, colorful tableaus. While you’re not looking for Pierre (he’s usually at the edge, near the start of a maze), there are hidden objects and people on each page, plus the entire page is a maze to solve. There are even mini-mazes hidden within the larger mazes, and many of the hidden objects carry over onto subsequent pages even when they’re no longer listed. After you finish, there are even more things you can look for throughout the entire book. Fortunately, there is a page of solutions at the back.
This last book isn’t so much a hidden picture as a visual riddle book. There’s a simple question on each page, like “Who ate all the jam?” and then several kids and animals in various poses–one of them is covered in jam. The answers will be pretty obvious to older kids, but younger kids will have to think about the question and look for somebody who fits the bill. It’s a cute idea, but with only 12 questions to answer, it’s over pretty quick.
Disclosure: I received review copies of these books.