Top 5: Books to Puzzle Over

Another summer-inspired list… I give you thought-provoking books, puzzling books, mysterious books… books to pore over on a beach (especially Flotsam), or in a shady hammock, or in a tent on a long rainy afternoon. Three are wordless books, ones you can leave your child alone to ponder, though you will soon be drawn into them too!

1. Zoom, by Istvan Banyai – 4+

Captivating illustrations reveal surprises as we zoom out, and out, and out…

2. Flotsam – David Wiesner – 5+

A mysterious camera found on a beach contains some amazing photographs.

3. Black and White – David Macaulay – 5+

Four independent stories told side by side that intersect in unexplained and mysterious ways.

4. Anno’s Journey – Mitsumasa Anno – 6+

A man journeys through a European landscape on a horse. The inquisitive and patient will examine every carefully detailed page for visual jokes and puzzles.

5. Dragon Quest – Nick Harris – 5+/8-10

A very elaborate, inventive and funny Where’s Waldo for fantasy fans. Each densely illustrated page holds objects to be found and little puzzles to be solved before the quest can move forward. The difficulty level is probably pitched to 8-10 year olds, but even younger children will enjoy the story and can still search out a few of the more easily found items. (Interesting all the way down to age 4, but some of the fantastical creatures and swarming scenes may be too creepy for some.) This book could occupy a child for hours.

a page from Dragon Quest


Upcoming Radio Interview!

I’ll be talking about the Rarest Kind of Best blog on local Saltspring radio show “The Beanstalk” with Janine Fernandes-Hayden, this coming Friday, July 29, 10:00-10:30 am (PST).

If you’re nearby, it’s 107.9 FM. If not you can listen online here. (

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears


Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

by Verna Aardema

illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon

New York: Dial Books, 1975

28 pp.

Age: 4+

Interests: jungle animals, African folktales, mosquitoes

Also by this author: Who’s in Rabbit’s House?, Oh Kojo! How could you!

Also by these illustrators: Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions


All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.