Jaded Where’s Waldo seachers will have to up their games considerably to match this sharp-eyed new dino-detective.
In a stubby red airplane Dinosaur Detective sets out to spot five figures or items hidden in each of 11 locales—from a closely packed medieval European village to an equally labyrinthine museum, from a spaghettilike tangle of caves to a ridiculously overcrowded neighborhood in outer space. With malice aforethought Guerrive fills each aerial (or underground) view with arrays of similar rooflines and other natural or artificial features to interfere with systematic visual inspection. She crowds into them dozens of precisely drawn but very small people, ETs, artifacts, and general bric-a-brac. There’s so much to see that the search for an umbrella-bearing robot, a rabbit gymnast, or whatever else Dinosaur Detective is looking for can easily take a back seat to savoring the surreal side business. Monsters chow down on mountain peaks; a roller-coaster rider at the fair loses her lunch; fur-clad boaters paddle their way across a starry sky past a moon with a spaceship in its eye; a seascape teems with mythological references. The human cast is pleasantly diverse of skin color and even includes some mixed-race families. Invitations to turn back (“Did I see a giraffe in space?”) and a visual key that may require a magnifying glass to use follow a final cutaway view of Dinosaur Dectective’s 12-level home.
Major challenges indeed for fans of nose-to-page viewing. (Picture book. 6-10)