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Where’s Waldo?: Why it never gets old.
Where IS Waldo?
Where is Waldo indeed? Many children and many adults (myself included) have spent many hours looking for the skinny man in the red and white striped shirt, bobble hat and round glasses. Around the 80's and 90's, the Where's Waldo? books where all the rage. Children would spend hours and hours through the multitude of characters in funny situations looking for the elusive Waldo. Where could that sly little creature be? Where could he be hiding this time? But, the books aren’t as popular now as they once were. I say let’s bring them back! Let’s all find Waldo!
“Where’s Wally?” was created by British illustrator Martin Handford in 1987. “Where’s Waldo” is the name for the series in the United States and Canada. The books have stunning illustrations set in various locations where every inch of the double-page spread is filled with numerous characters doing different things. The goal is to spot Waldo in the crowd. He is a sneaky little dude. It can take you a while to peruse the entire puzzle to find him and when you finally do, there he is with a smile on his face, taunting you. At first Waldo was the only character that could be found in the illustrations, but then new characters were introduced as an added challenge. Now, not only can you find Waldo, but you can find his friends as well: Wenda, Odlaw (Waldo backwards), Wizard Whitebeard, Woof and the Waldo Watchers (Waldo’s fan club). You can also find a series of objects that belong to the characters, Wizard Whitebeard’s scroll, Waldo’s key, Woof’s bone, Wenda’s camera and Odlaw’s binoculars.
The books became so popular that shortly after its release that they began to be published all over the world in different names.
Waldo in other countries:
Croatian – Jura
Hindi – Hetti
Hebrew – Efi
Danish – Holger
German – Walter
Japanese – ウォーリー (Wōrī)
Estonian – Volli
Hungarian – Vili
Norwegian – Willy
French – Charlie
Icelandic – Valli
Swedish – Valle
Although many books have been published, the main books of the Where’s Waldo? series are Where’ Waldo? (1987), Where’s Waldo Now? (1988), Where’s Waldo?: The Great Waldo Search (1989), Where’s Waldo?: In Hollywood (1993), Where’s Waldo?: The Wonder Book (1997), Where’s Waldo?: The Great Picture Hunt (2006) and Where’s Waldo?: The Incredible Paper Chase (2009). Other than the books, more recently (2009) the video game Where’s Waldo?: The Fantastic Journey has been developed for Nintendo DS, iPhone, PC and Nintendo Wii.
These books can be a great tool in the development of a child’s spatial skills, which is the ability to reason and solve problems using pictures, diagrams, and shapes. They can also help with logic and coordination. These puzzles are not only educational, but they are super fun, and even better, are for people of all ages! So, come one people! Jump on the Where’s Waldo? bandwagon!
FYI: This really cool Where's Waldo? fanart on the right is from talented artist doubleleaf at deviantART.com.