Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Ages: 4 – 8 years

I tried to describe this book to my husband, but because I was so in awe of it, I didn’t have the words.

I ended up telling him it was like a sophisticated Where’s Waldo, which was light on text and had some of the most amazing illustrations I had ever seen in a children’s picture book.

Not being much of a reader himself, he jumped at the bit about it being light on text and now it’s his favorite book to read to the kids.

It forces them to slowly scan over the illustration in search of hidden animals, instead of quickly dismissing and flicking to the next page.

If only they would try this hard at finding hidden items at home …. like odd socks!

The Water Hole is an incredibly clever blend of counting, searching, puzzle, storybook, and art.  It’s just perfect for stimulating a child’s brain and teaching them to concentrate!

Each page of this book is an exquisite piece of art.  Spreads 1 – 10 are dedicated to different regions of the world and the animals within those regions. 

One Rhino is drinking at the waterhole on the first spread, which is dedicated to Africa.  We find two Tigers from India, three Toucans from South America and four Snow Leopards from the Himalayas.  Each animal has come to the water hole to drink.

Other regions featured include the Himalayas, North America, rivers and streams, China, Europe, Galapagos Islands, and Australia.

However, there is more to each picture than meets the eye and there are HEAPS more animals than the numbered main characters. 

Scan your eye slowly over each elaborate illustration and you will find Cheetahs in the tree leaves, birds hidden in the textured bark and even an emu hidden within the cracks of a drought-stricken ground.

HINT – the animals in silhouette bordering each illustration give a clue as to what you may find hidden.

By the time we reach 10 kangaroos, the water hole is empty and dry.  The animals leave and the water hole is even more desolate.

A single drop of rain falls. It rains and rains and rains and rains … All the animals come back!

The last page features all of the animals. Can you spot them all?

Graeme Base has been one of my favorite children’s book authors and illustrators since I was a child myself and begged my mother to buy me ‘’The Eleventh Hour’’ at a school book fair. I’ve been hooked ever since!

In a book that has a little something for all ages, The Water Hole will stimulate your child’s brain and teach them to concentrate.  It’s an ingenious blend of counting, searching, puzzle, storybook and exquisite art!


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