Thursday, December 1, 2011

Toyland Express by Walter Wick - Giveaway and Review

When passing by all the toys on the store shelves, do you ever wonder about where they were made and where they'll end up? Just think of all the stories toys could tell! From the factory, to home, to an attic or basement and beyond, tracing the journey of a toy is an interesting thought. Walter Wick takes readers on the life journey of a toy train in his newest picture book, Can You See What I See? Toyland Express.

Can You See What I See?: Toyland Express: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve by Walter Wick. Scholastic / Cartwheel Books (October 2011); ISBN 9780545244831; 40 pages
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher

Wick is a genius at creating and capturing incredible, imaginative scenes -- so many fabulous trinkets and toys are all captured in his photographs. The beauty of a Walter Wick search and find puzzle book lies in the dizzying variety of objects and the impressive sets. What my kids wouldn't give to live in his studio and play with all those elaborate sets!

Like Wick's other books, Toyland Express is full of all sorts of delightful finds. Besides the Toyland Express train, readers get a chance to search for more than 250 hidden objects in this fun, photographic adventure that portrays the life of a little blue toy train. The train is created and painted in a workshop. Then it goes from store window display on to become a beloved birthday gift. Later, forgotten in the attic, it finally ends up in a yard sale and finds another loving home. The toy train storyline unites all the photographs in the book and gives the book an interesting fictional depth.

Toyland Express is the first Can You See What I See? series book my family has read though we've read many of Wick's I Spy books together. We really enjoyed watching the story of a toy train unfold in the photographs. We also learned about a new-to-us Wick character, a "bead boy" named Seymour! Seymour is a cute character that Wick hides in all the Can You See What I See? books. (Here's a little fun tidbit: Seymour is *gasp* "naked" (devoid of paint) in parts of the Toyland Express book!)

So where did Wick get the fabulous wooden train in the book? According to the endnotes, he designed the train himself and his workshop team created the models. For those kids with interlocking wooden train sets of their own, the layouts in the book provide a ton of track layout inspiration. We wish we had a set of Tinkertoys so we could try creating our own Tinkertoy train bridge like the one shown on the Mountain Pass page. The Toyland page (shown in the photograph to the right) depicts a really neat city layout using blocks and cardboard box buildings. See the word "Toyland" under the tracks spelled out with alphabet blocks? Amazingly creative!

My son and I couldn't resist creating our own wooden train toyland. Here's our version, inspired by the book:

By the way, the book would make a perfect gift companion to a train set. Snatch up your own hardcover copy right away -- it's selling for an unbeatable price of only $6.99 (MSRP $13.99) at

Related Links:

Scholastic has kindly offered to give away a SIGNED copy of Can You See What I See? Toyland Express to one very lucky Brimful Curiosities reader! (We're a tad jealous!)

For a chance to win, leave a comment relative to this post or answer the following question: What is your favorite book by Walter Wick?
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me via GFC or Facebook or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


Jubilee Reviews said...

We have several of the I SPY books and the kids wear them right out that I have to get new ones! Love the challenge ones best as they even challenge the Mom! This new book by him looks great
melanieinoh2003 at yahoo dot com

Kristie said...

My kids really enjoy the I Spy books! :-)

khmorgan_00 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Kim said...

We do not have any of the I SPY books but I know my son would love them. He loves trains!

Domestic Diva said...

I haven't read any of Wick's books, but this looks great!

lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

Jenn Likes It said...

I would love to win this book for my little boys. I saw it at their school book fair, but couldn't afford to get it. We love the I Spy books, especially I Spy Treasure Hunt.

Unknown said...

Looks like a fun book! The I Spy readers are a lot of fun and perfect for my 4-yr-old!

Natalia said...

My son likes Could you see what I see:School Bus.
natatheangel AT yahoo DOT com

Isabelle said...

I Spy: Fun House is my son's favorite book
iamfirestar AT yahoo DOT com

Unknown said...

My little guy loves the I Spy books! He got the bunny one in his Easter basket last year!

swicatsides said...

I Spy Christmas is a good one. We also like the halloween one.
Great books such details. I am a followers.

freddie said...

My favorite book is I Spy A Book of Picture Riddles.

freddie said...

I follow you on Twitter and tweeted giveaway.!/flipper211/status/143364778012835840

Andrea DV said...

We love any of Walter Wick's "I Spy" books! We have spent countless hours pouring over the pages of "A picture book of Riddles" with our boys, ages 6 and 4.

Theresa N. said...

I like A Drop Of Water beautiful photography.
Theresa N

Candie L said...

I am following your blog. Thank you


Megan Earley said...

My favorite is the I Spy Christmas book
mearley1979 at gmail dot com

In Julie's Opinion said...

I think my son would love the I Spy Christmas or I Spy School Days book!!

jwitt33 at live dot com

Mo said...

WE all love ISpy. each and every one.. My son the most. I think it is because he likes to slip into Wicks worls and get lost... Our favorite book is the ISpy Christmas, but My son loves any page where there is a town, or a road.. or miniature people of all kinds! We are HUGE HUGE fans!

Mo said...

twitter following, as smallstarshines

Mo said...

Facebook following as monica powell.

Kelly D. said...

I love ALL of the I SPY books. My favorite is probably the fantasy one!

Kelly D. said...

I am following you on twitter as MJDsMommy or Kelly Leto.