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I'm not sure why the world is going mad over meerkats at the moment (I expect it may be down to that Compare The Meerkat advert). Among the meerkat fanbase is my daughter, so when she received a 'Where's The Meerkat?' book at Christmas she was very pleased!
'Where's The Meerkat?' follows the same format as the very popular 'Where's Wally?' series. I had never seen this book before but my daughter and I really enjoy Where's Wally books so I guessed we would both enjoy this too. The main aim of the book is to find 10 hidden meerkats in each picture.
The first page tells you the aim of the book and gives you fun facts about the meerkats, aswell as individual meerkat profiles. The 10 different meerkats are called Miranda, Florian, Albert, Raoul, Sofia, Matthew, Frankie, Maxwell, Samson and Hannah. However they all look VERY similar!
The book is quite large (each page is A4 sized) which makes finding the meerkats more challenging (and without straining your eyes too much). It is a hardback book with a durable and wipeclean cover. There are a whopping 17 different scenes in the book and each scene covers 2 whole pages. All of the scenes are from different destinations around the world and include Rio De Janeiro (Brazil), New York (USA), Innsbruck (Austria), Paris (France), Moscow (Russia), The Great Wall (China), Easter Island (South Pacific), Sydney (Australia), London (UK), Venice (Italy), Giza (Egypt), Bangkok (Thailand), Kyoto (Japan), Santa Cruz (USA), The Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Marrakesh (Morocco) and Kruger National Park (South Africa). Each scene has big crowds of people in.
Lots of landmarks are featured and each scene has fun and educational facts which I think is good for kids (E.g. 'The Great Wall of China stretches for a massive 8851.8 kilometres. Florian's eyes nearly fell out of his head when Albert suggest they tackle all of it! Hannah loves the legend of Meng Jjang Nu, which tells of a beautiful young woman who cried so much when she heard that her husband had died while building the wall, that a whole section of it came tumbling down. Hannah thinks this is so romantic that she's not even complaining about her paws hurting from all the walking').
In the back of the book are the answers to where the meerkats are in each scene, plus a checklist of extra objects/people/scenarios to find in each scene (E.g. A tambourine, A woman jogging, A lost boy with a map, Cups of coffee being spilt) - there are about 170 different scenarios in total.
To summarise the positives of 'Where's The Meerkat?' I'd say it's a fun, noval and different take on 'Where's Wally?'. It's bound to please any meerkat fan. There are so many meerkats and scenarios to find, and so many different scenes. I also like the fact the scenes are from different places around the world and include light-hearted facts. My daughter really enjoys this book and can get lost in it - it requires lots of concentration and I have used this to my advantage many times! It's great for keeping kids entertained and quiet during car journeys etc.
To summarise the negatives of 'Where's The Meerkat?' I'd say it's not quite as challenging as Where's Wally. Where's Wally has objects to find and different looking characters to find but Where's The Meerkat has no objects to find (only from the checklist at the back of the book) and the meerkats aren't as hard to find as the Wally characters are in crowds of people (I suppose because they are meerkats and not people, so they stand out more!). Some of the meerkats are dressed up in different scenes but most of the meerkats aren't dressed up and all look the same - this makes it very tricky to keep track of which meerkats you have already found! I'm not too fond of the illustrations either - the great thing about 'Where's Wally?' is that the illustrations are very amusing, you can always find plenty of funny things happening in each scene - however the illustrations in 'Where's The Meerkat?' are pretty boring and are of people doing very average things such as taking photographs or just walking (the crowds don't appear to be half as big as those in Where's Wally either)...
Overall this book is fun but not as good as Wally. If you take Wally out of the equation then 'Where's The Meerkat?' is a very good book!