Comics : Spider-Man & Friends (First Look & Find)

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: Jan 2011.

Background...

Publications International are they guys who produce the "Look & Find" Books. They seem to pretty much have a stranglehold on the concept, presumably thanks to the bizarrely enthusiastic American patents system which (in conjunction with the insanely aggressive legal system) so often acts to strangle creativity rather than protect it.

But I digress.

In any case, if you're wanting a Spider-Man book where your kids can search through pictures and hunt for things, the fact seems to be that you're going to have to wait until Publications International are ready to give you one. And the good news is that after fifteen years of re-releasing the same Look & Find Spider-Man book from 1991, they finally got around to creating something new.

This time it's specially for the little kids.

In Detail...

Spider-Man & Friends (First Look & Find)
Jul 2009 : SM Title
Find ISBN 1412777704
Publisher:  Publications International Ltd.
Writer:  Melanie Zanoza
Illustrator:  Casey Sanborn
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Review

This book is 10" x 12.25". And while it's only 16 pages long (including inside front and back covers), the fact that the pages are super-thick card and the cover is generously padded means that the whole thing comes to nearly 3/4" in thickness. That makes for a very substantial book.

Inside you'll find Spider-Man, Spider-Girl, Hulk, Storm, Wolverine, Doc Ock, Lizard and all the other super-powered kindergarten kids you've come to know and love from the Spider-Man & Friends version of the Marvel universe. I get my regular dose from Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine), but there's plenty of other books and toys that tie-in with the same style.

In the book are seven double-page spreads of rich, high-color art with objects scattered here and there, and a set of specific objects for kids to find. As you can tell from the sample page I've included, this is a much-simplified version of the Look & Find genre, which normally features incredibly detailed scenes. This definitely is one for the pre-schoolers, with just a couple of dozen images on each page to keep things nice and simple.

The art work is super kid-friendly, and the production quality is great overall. This is a high-quality product. From a writing point of view, there's really not much to mention. There's only a paragraph on each page. Even so, I could perhaps critique the very first page, which tells us that "Spider-Man and his friends can turn into Super Heroes, but they have to go to school, too. Do you see these classroom supplies?"

"Spider-Man" can "turn into a super hero? I would have thought that Peter Parker could turn into a super hero, while strictly speaking Spider-Man already was a super hero, surely?

In General...

Nitpicking aside, this is a top-notch product at a great price. The book feels incredibly robust in your hands, and the artwork is very attractive. The last two-page spread is a set of suggestions for parents for more abstract things to find on some of the pages - e.g. Colors, "Things that start with T", Shapes, Rhyming Words and so on. That's a nice extension to keep interest going in the book after kids get to know it well enough to find the basic things easily.

Overall Rating...

This is a substantial and high-quality book for a fair price of US$9. I'm pleased to be able to give it an equally substantial and high-quality 4 web rating.