Where’s Wally? The Super Six
Walker Books, 2021
Boxed Set, RRP $A54.99
One of the most recognisable characters in children’s literature with his red and white striped hat and jumper and blue jeans, children have been poring over incredibly busy double-page spreads to find Wally hidden amongst the myriad of characters since 1987. And in my 50+ years of teaching, there have been only a handful of books (the Harry Potter and Goosebumps series are the only ones that spring readily to mind) that have had such a profound influence of children’s desire to learn to read. For even though there is very little text in these books , the powerful messages of books being fun and entertaining, and the essential skills of visual acuity and the perseverance to examine detail are crucial to successful reading development and engagement.
Such was the popularity of the series in my school library 20 years ago, it spawned a year-long activity for which students investigated a popular Australian destination and then wrote clues so their peers could discover where Wally was this week. The display, which included the clues, pictures (scenic calendars are a great source) and a map that tracked his journey) was always ready for the Monday lunchtime crowd and entries were collected with the winner being drawn on Friday. The prize was simply being the contributor to a future adventure within Australia for Wally, a prized reward. And in the meantime I haunted second-hand bookshops constantly looking for copies to replace those that were so loved and used, they just wore out. And there was always a queue of reserves for new releases.
So almost 45 years on, to have a boxed set which includes Where’s Wally?, Where’s Wally Now?, Where’s Wally? The Fantastic Journey, Where’s Wally? In Hollywood, Where’s Wally? The Wonder Book and Where’s Wally? The Great Picture Hunt as well as a puzzle and a poster so another generation can discover and enjoy the delights of books that entranced their parents is wonderful. And at less than $10 per book, it is also a bargain. As lockdowns and restrictions have seen a resurgence in family time with board games, cards and so forth making a comeback, this is the ideal gift to continue that as families pore over the pages together and parents relive memories of fun times at school.