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Book Review: Where’s the Meerkat? Journey Through Time

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When I read about it & at first glance I thought this book looked great & that it would be something that Jake & Ellie would enjoy, & that we could enjoy together.

It’s an activity / puzzle book, meant to be fun as well as educational.

The title says it all, really! You’re taken on a journey through time. Each page pictures an imagined scene from an iconic period of history. We’ve got the Court of Henry VIII (pictured), The Oracle of Delphi, the Wild West, ancient Egypt, Victorian London, dinosaurs in the Jurassic era, pirates in the Caribbean Sea, the fall of the Berlin Wall, & much more. There’s even an imagined Metropolis of 3469!

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Within each picture are hidden 10 of everybody’s favourite small furry mammals the Meerkats, & their friends Kevin the Falcon & Roger the Squirrel. When you spot them you put a tick in the relevant box.

At the back of the book there are more things to spot for each picture, as well completed pictures showing where all the animals are.

There is a back-story to explain the time-travelling, historical, hiding goings-on, & each animal has its own individual profile.

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At our first attempt I wondered if maybe my first impressions were wrong, & that it might be more suitable for older children.

Jake & Ellie didn’t seem to understand the back-story. It was a bit too complex & used a lot of words they were unfamiliar with. It would have been better if I’d paraphrased rather than read it verbatim, and I’ll try that next time.

They didn’t seem to relate to the profiles either, although that may have been that they just wanted to get on with the spotting!

The main thing though is that they found the animals very hard to spot. And not only them – I struggled as well.

But…

they enjoyed it.

Not only that, but when we did it the next time they enjoyed it even more, & had a lot more success in finding the animals. Much more so than me in fact! To be fair my eyesight isn’t the best, & I probably need new reading glasses!

The thrill of discovery they showed when they made a spot was wonderful. Shouting “I found one!”, & punching the air in delight!

The pictures are great. They’re colourful, really well drawn & highly detailed; entertaining & funny. There’s so much going on in each one!

As well as being fun, this teaches good skills. As well as the obvious visual skills of distinguishing specific figures in a mish-mash of different colours & shapes it’s also a fun way of learning about history, although that’s probably a bit too much for my little 3-year-olds at the moment.

But actually I think that’s a good thing. This book is future-proof: as they get older they’ll be able to appreciate it, & learn from it, a lot more.

The wealth of detail in the 17 scenarios and the extra stuff for the “eagle-eyed searchers” will give us many hours of fun to come.

Despite my initial misgivings I can thoroughly recommend this book for children even as young as 3, & upwards, & it would make an ideal gift.  

“Where’s the Meerkat? Journey Through Time” is written by Jen Wainwright & designed by Angie Allison & Zoe Bradley. It is published by Michael O’Mara Books Limited. I was given a copy of the book for the purposes of this review. 

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