Mercier, Julie. Giant Seek & Find, Look Inside! Auzou, 2017. [18p.]. $24.95. 978-2-7338-4684-1.
Lienard, Maud. Seek and Find National Parks. Auzou, 2017. [28p.]. $14.95. 978-2-7338-4821-0.
Libraries needing more “seek and find” type books, similar to the “Where’s Waldo” series by Candlewick, might find these books from Auzou publishing serviceable. Originally published in France, these are hardbound with slick board pages, making them durable.
The “Giant” book has nine scenes and the “National Parks” book has twelve, but the formats are the same. Each spread features a location, such as the shopping mall, library, or specific U.S. National Park. In the “Giant” book, these scenes look like cross-sections of apartment buildings, showing what is happening on various floors. In the “National Parks” books, the scenes are outside in a desert, forest, or glade. Along the border is a boxed area with 20 to 30 items to look for, along with the regular characters that are shown in each scene.
There is nothing controversial or extraordinary about the “Giant” book; all the scenes and things to look for are relatable for the target audience. The full color cartoon artwork adds humor, such as the zombie in the hospital.
The “National Parks” book is more problematic, because there are many areas that are not accurate. Why are dolphins swimming in the lake at the Rocky Mountains park in Colorado? Where is Half Dome in the Yosemite scene? Why are so many characters in Middle Eastern clothing shown only in the Death Valley desert scene?
Since “seek and find” books are so popular, these could work, but help readers know not to use the”National Parks” book for information or research.
Zolotow, Charlotte. The Seashore Book. Illus. by Wendell Minor. Charlesbridge, 2017. [32p.]. $16.99. 978-1-58089-787-7.
Originally published in 1992, this 25th anniversary edition contains the same illustrations but according to the flap copy, this is “redesigned.” Many libraries still own the original edition, so this may not be a necessary purchase unless you need a replacement copy.
The story is actually a narrative, where the mother describes what the boy can expect to see when they visit the seashore, because he has never been there before. The mother’s dialogue is very descriptive and somewhat fanciful, but there is no real story. However, it is a nice book for parent and child to share if a trip to the ocean is planned.
The redesigned elements are relatively minimal; a different font is used for the text, and the illustrations no longer have the thin line borders. The biggest noticeable change is the cover art; the earlier version showed a fence on the beach. The new edition shows a boy running along the incoming tide, which is more child-centric and eye-catching. Overall, due to the minimal amount of changes, this is a suitable replacement copy but not an essential purchase.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool