Not much makes me feel older than my impending birthday on Tuesday, except for the fact that this July, Waldo (as in your favorite red-and-white-striped traveler) turns 25 years old. 25! I remember being absolutely frustrated by each puzzle; the beach, the museum, the amusement park- each one tricking me with the strategically placed red-and-white-striped umbrellas, tents, and Waldo imposters.
For the month of July, Vroman’s will be hosting a Where’s Waldo search in Pasadena to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Where’s Waldo by Martin Handford. 17 local businesses in the area will hide the striped figure in their stores for Waldo-hunters to spot. Are you worthy of this challenge? Do you have the eyes of a hawk? Find him while he’s in your city!
Originally published in 1987, Waldo was created when author and illustrator, Martin Handford, was commissioned to create a body of work that depicted his style and talent. As he created a series of detailed crowd scenes, Waldo was added to function as a common thread- something that would tie each scene together.
I personally believe he was created to drive people crazy and make them scream at books.
So, in honor of this momentous occasion, here’s a chance to brush up on your Where’s Waldo trivia:
Only called Waldo in the US, he is referred to as Wally in most other parts of the world. And if you, like myself, were under the impression that Waldo was the one-and-only, he actually hails from The Land of Waldos, a mysterious, uncharted land where all inhabitants appear to be Waldo’s clone. Waldo meets this moment of self-discovery in the final pages of The Great Waldo Search.
Waldo’s better half, Wenda, is a photographer extraordinaire, although she tends to lose her camera in nearly every book. In the past, she has been illustrated with her identical twin sister, Wilma, but unfortunately Wilma has not made an appearance in the books for the past 20 years or so. I just think nobody is looking hard enough!
Waldo’s furry friend, Woof, was originally owned by the elusive Wilma. Since Wilma’s disappearance, Woof and Waldo have been inseparable, hiding in crowds together and wearing matching outfits. Also, he has an abnormally long tail for a dog.
This magical fellow allows Waldo and his gang to travel to mystical places and far-off lands. Legend has it that Wizard Whitebeard is Wenda’s father, although these reports cannot be confirmed.
Described by friends as “mean, nasty, loathsome, and disgusting,” Odlaw is originally from Odlaw’s Swamp, a place teeming with black-and-yellow-striped creatures. He is generally referred to by readers as Waldo’s evil twin and is an all-around decidedly creepy character. And for those of you who might not have noticed yet, Odlaw is not just a villainous name- it is ‘Waldo’ spelled backwards.
As I’m sure you’re ready to begin your hunt, here’s what you need to do: Stop by Vroman’s, pick up a list of participating businesses, and go out and start your search. Collect an ‘I Found Waldo’ card at 10 of the possible 17 stores, submit your cards to the Vroman’s Bookstore Kids Department, and be entered in a drawing for a deluxe 6-book boxed set of Where’s Waldo books and other fantastic prizes. The drawing will take place at the Where’s Waldo Celebration on July 30th at 4pm. The search begins this Sunday, July 1st.
And remember, this event is open to all ages! Afterall, you’re never too old to ask “Where’s Waldo?”