Can You See What I See?
Toyland Express: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve
By Walter Wick
(Cartwheel Books, Hardcover, 9780545244831, 40pp.)
Publication Date: October 2011
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An amazing new search-and-find adventure from the creative mind of renowned photographer and author Walter Wick.
Amazing photographs accompany a search-and-find story by Walter Wick, the creator of award-winning picture books, the author and photographer of the New York Times bestselling Can You See What I See? series, and the photographer of the bestselling I Spy series.
CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? TOYLAND EXPRESS, the eighth title in the bestselling search-and-find series, follows the life of a toy train from the workshop to the attic, only to be rescued at a yard sale and brought to life once again in a new home. As readers search for more than 250 hidden objects, they will also notice how the train takes on various transformations along its journey.
Walter Wick is the photographer of the bestselling I Spy series as well as the author and photographer of the bestselling Can You See What I See? series. He lives with his wife, Linda, in Connecticut.
The "Can You See What I See?" children's book series are photo-puzzles made from Walter Wick's signature photographic compositions of model toys and odds and ends. His latest book is called Toyland Express. Wick joins host Audie Cornish to talk about how he puts together is photo illustrations. More at NPR.org
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Booklist Advanced Review, November 2011:
Wick’s latest seek-and-find book begins in a toymaker’s workshop, where an unpainted wooden train set
and many other wooden toys and parts can be seen. A rhyme challenges children to find 20 things among
the hundreds of tiny objects. The next 11 double-page spreads follow the toys’ progression as they are
painted, displayed in a shop, received on a birthday, left on a bedroom floor, and repurposed in scenes
involving a snowy mountain, a circus, and a dollhouse. Forgotten in an attic, they reemerge at a yard sale,
receive repairs, and find new life in a toy-land cityscape. Wick’s puzzle design and picture composition
are as masterful as his photography. An appended note offers insight into the book’s subject and
acknowledges the “team of artists” who contributed to it. The handsome endpapers, depicting the toys in
soft-edged drawings washed with gentle colors, contrast nicely with the bright, crisply delineated photos.
Like other books in the Can You See What I See? series, this book offers practice in visual-discrimination
skills as well as a great deal of fun.
— Carolyn Phelan
Kirkus Reviews, June 2011:
Complex seek-and-find images provide an intriguing backdrop for the story of a tenacious toy train.
This latest collection of picture puzzles in the Can You See What I See? series provides a nostalgic glimpse into the life, death and resurrection of a wooden train. The engine huffs from creation to exploration as it races past blocks, around dolls and through miniature villages. There's a vulnerable depth as the once-cherished birthday present is discarded in the dusty attic. Rescued in a yard sale and restored to its former beauty, the vehicle races with new purpose. The text follows a repetitive format as an inviting question encourages the eagle-eyed audience to peruse each page for items strategically placed within. Without effusive description, straightforward rhymes of concealed objects add to the challenge of the hunt. A direct title oversees each expansive double-page spread, and the pace naturally builds to repeated references to the train and its tumultuous journey. Wick plays with similar colors to enhance these expressive camouflaged spreads. Digitally processed photographs capture crisp dimensions with remarkable clarity.
No puzzle here—these well-designed scenes are another success from the picture-challenge master. (Picture book. 4-8)