by Sachi Leith
Where’s Waldo? You tell me. Seriously. I couldn’t find him.
You know Waldo — tall guy, red and white striped shirt, glasses, goofy hat. Since his creation in 1987 by Martin Handford, Waldo has hidden in more than 55 million copies of “Where’s Waldo” books in 18 languages worldwide.
This real-life hunt for Waldo, sponsored by Candlewick Press and the American Bookseller’s Association, is happening in more than 250 independent bookstores across the country, including the Phoenix Books in Essex, The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, the Yankee Bookshop, in Woodstock, Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Bartleby’s Books in Wilmington, and the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich.
Five-inch tall Waldos are hiding all over Vermont right now. But for some reason, I had trouble finding him. Admittedly, I only visited five of his 20 Burlington hideouts, but that Waldo is slippery. Elusive. He’s freaking hard to find, especially amidst Vermont-themed merchandise, violin music, and home goods. Well, for some of us, at least.
Not for Jaden, six years old, Waldo Investigator Extraordinaire. I ran into Jaden and his mom at Vermont Violins. Jaden told me he’d already found 12 Waldos hiding around town. That day. I’d been to two other stores, but hadn’t yet been successful. I began subtly following Jaden around the shop, searching high and low for candy cane stripes and trying not to look like I was following a 6-year-old around a music store.
“Can I help you?” asked the woman behind the counter.
“Oh, uh, no. I’m just looking for Waldo.” I said sheepishly. I paused. “I’m from Kids VT magazine; we’re writing it up for our blog, and they sent me out to find him.”
She gave me a knowing look, and pointed a finger behind her hand. “Look over there,” she whispered.
Slightly embarrassed, but with my dignity still (mostly) intact, I wandered over to the area she’d been pointing to, and stared at the wall of instruments, scanning slowly. Jaden walked over just as I glimpsed Waldo’s head, peeking over — well, I won’t reveal his hiding place, but, needless to say, my excitement was boundless when I finally spotted him.
Within a few seconds, Jaden had seen him, too. No hint, and much quicker to the punch. I was impressed.
You can join the hunt in Burlington by picking up a list of Waldo’s locations from Phoenix Books. The month of Waldo ends with a prize drawing on July 31, so get started soon! Your kids are probably all eagle-eyed, like Jaden, but if your searching skills are anything like mine, Waldo’s pretty tough to find.