Books make the most wonderful gifts, for holidays, birthdays, and any time at all. What better way to lift someone’s spirits than with the unexpected gift of a beautifully rendered classic like BLACK BEAUTY, written by Anna Sewell, with breathtaking illustrations by Christian Birmingham. On the other end of the spectrum, think of the hours of enjoyment kids and adults can have together while they attempt to spot over 500 differences in WHERE’S WALDO? DOUBLE TROUBLE AT THE MUSEUM, written and illustrated by Martin Handford. Both choices were published in October of 2019 by Candlewick, and I was lucky to receive free copies for my honest review.
The horses in this version of BLACK BEAUTY are so beautifully drawn by Christian Birmingham, they appear to gallop off the pages. I would happily tack these photos on my wall, I’m so taken by them. The story itself is unchanged from its original publication way back in 1877. Set in Victorian England, Black Beauty faces challenge after challenge from a series of cruel masters, but endures all trials with patience and grace. From the book jacket about Anna’s life it says, “The novel was published just five months before her death and was instrumental in bringing about reforms in laws and changes in attitudes about animal welfare.” Is it any surprise this book, in its various incarnations, has sold approximately 50 million copies? If you don’t already own it, I highly recommend you purchase this version for your collection.
Now for a classic of a completely different sort. Many of us are familiar with the iconic “Where’s Waldo?” in some form or another, as it first hit the world by storm in 1987. This latest book in the enduring franchise, DOUBLE TROUBLE AT THE MUSEUM, is truly the “Ultimate search-and-find book with double the fun!” Aimed for ages 5-9, this is not a beginner’s search book. These pages are intricately drawn using vivid colors and you need eagle eyes to spot many of the differences. I can picture kids from 5-105 putting their heads together on this, or kids racing each other each to see who can spot the differences first on each set of pages. No matter how kids view it, this very large, square book is guaranteed to provide hours of enjoyment for the whole family. I gifted WHERE’S WALDO? DOUBLE TROUBLE AT THE MUSEUM to my 9-year-old nephew, a testament to how much I like this.
Yes, these two books are vastly different. But differences are the spice of life!