In this less frenetic, oversize cousin to the Where's Waldo? books, German author/artist Berner wordlessly portrays the ways people and places change over the course of the four seasons. Each of four sections moves readers toward and then away from a city center; the environments are host to a large cast of genial and mostly recurring characters, all of whom seem to have drawn their wardrobes from the Hanna Andersson catalogue. The wealth of mini-narratives that unfold both within the chapters and across the book may leave some yearning for Martin Handford's mischievousness (although one couple does meet, thanks to a banana peel); others may find that while Berner's pictures are far less populated than those in the Waldo books, it's actually more dizzying to focus on many different characters rather than one guy in an unchanging striped shirt and woolly hat. Gradually, however, the liveliness of the pictures and the kindly intentions Berner has for her crew prove winning, and readers of all ages will find themselves flipping pages back and forth to compare, contrast and savor. Ages 2-5. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
First published in Germany, these four seasonal vignettes follow an assortment of characters on errands and adventure around a small town. Each season begins with a cast of characters and briefly describes what they are going to do that day, maybe where they are headed, and sometimes poses a question, prompting the reader to scour the illustrations for the answers. Readers then follow townsfolk on their wordless journey. For the visually observant this is more challenging than finding Waldo but also a lot more fun. It is a seek and find that necessitates a lot of flipping of pages back and forth and offers just the kind of small details that children love to pore over and solve with friends. Readers may select to follow one whole "story" (each about seven double spreads) or take one character and follow him on his task or errand. The minutely detailed and busy illustrations evoke the atmosphere of a small European town, and it is fun to watch the changes taking place in the landscape and buildings, particularly the building of the new Kindergarten throughout the season. This book should provide hours of fun for children and their parents. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Reminiscent of the bustle of Richard Scarry's "Busytown" (S & S), this oversize German import is divided into four sections, one for each season. At the start of each section a full page highlights several different community members, such as Pedro, who "loves to sing and play his guitar," and a cat. "Cassie travels all through the town. Can you find her in each picture?" The cartoon picture puzzle echoes Martin Handford's "Waldo" series (Candlewick). Each season is represented by seven spreads that feature cross-sections of buildings and a wealth of detail across the surrounding landscape. Viewers follow characters along their everyday activities from page to page throughout the year as the community and its members undergo changes. The illustrations are charming, and the thorough details guarantee joyful exploration.-Laura Butler, Mount Laurel Library, NJ