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Star-Bulletin Features

Tuesday, November 2, 1999


Book misses big
picture for keiki


Bullet 'Hide & Seek in Hawai'i'
32 pages, Mutual Publishing, $9.95


"Hide & Seek in Hawai'i" takes its cue from the popular "I Spy" series of books for children.

But where "I Spy" cleverly disguises everyday objects -- turning a pencil into a tower in a skyscraper, for example -- this version counts on confusion in profusion. Items are jammed edge to edge in colorful photographs with themes like "Fun in the Sun" and "Wish for Fish."

The book -- written and produced by Jane Hopkins, Mutual Publishing's production manager, and Ian Gillespie -- is described as a picture game for keiki. A rhyme tells children what objects to find in each photograph.

While many of the items are ones children will easily recognize, others aren't. For example, at "Tutu's House," kids must find "59 cents, but not any dimes." The authors count on children knowing coins and adding well enough to figure that two quarters in one part of the photo, a nickel and penny in another, and the three pennies obscured in the book's fold equals 59 cents.

The "Busy Quilting Bees" game asks children to find a "quilt-pattern stencil," something non-quilting adults may have a problem locating. And for some reason, kids are asked to spot golf tees, rulers and spools of thread in several pictures, even when those objects don't seem to have anything to do with the themes.

The best thing about "Hide & Seek" may be the list of Hawaiian words for common objects. And if children are attracted to this book, it may just be for all the objects in the pictures that aren't part of the game.

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