Labyrinth by Theo Guignard

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Labyrinth by Theo Guignard

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A visually stunning book, that just falls short of perfection for different tiny reasons, but which sets the benchmark for future books like it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: March 2017
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781847809988

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Of all the books published for people's paper-based hobbies when I was a youngster, it's remarkable that all of them have been revisited and revamped. I say this because they certainly weren't exactly brilliant fun back then. No, we didn't have quite the modern style of colouring-in books, but they were available, if you'd gone beyond 'join the dots'. I read only recently that origami is allegedly coming back – and I remember how every church book sale for years had Origami, Origami 2 or Origami 3 paperbacks somewhere for ten pence. But the ultimate in paper-based fun back then was the use-once format of the maze book. This is the modern equivalent – but boy, hasn't the idea grown up since then…

It doesn't sound much, fourteen puzzles, but they're enough. For one thing they're huge, in this large-format square hardback – about 22 inches by 11. For another, they're gorgeous to look at – while we had different shapes of puzzle, some in a snail's shell, perhaps, or shaped as a dragon, here you get a computer game landscape with a dragon, complete with Escheresque 3D pathways. There's a traditional top-down one of a complex path through a crowded beach, and a maze of wormy things, but the perspective on the 3D ones is what I'll take with me from this book (as well as eye-strain from the final one, as seen on the cover). There's one based on underwater life, a maze of weird roadways, and – as the creator is French – something like the Centre Pompidou.

But there's an and to this. You also have to spot various things, once you've done your route-finding. It's only a short list every time, but it can add minutes to your task before you can turn the page. But that comes with a but – it did raise a few tiny quibbles with me. At least once what was sought was down the mid-spread page fold (as indeed was a wall in one labyrinth I just didn't spot), at least once you're asked for something yellow and it proves to be orange, and at least once on the answer sheets provided it gave us a mark indicating something we weren't even asked to seek.

I don't think such instances are worth badly marking a book down on, but I felt they kind of spoiled my experience – imagine being the consoling parent introducing the idea of colour-blindness to a child when they've wasted hours looking for the expected shade. And you would get a Nobel Prize if you could do away with the problem of things hiding in centrefolds. M. Guignard certainly deserves a prize for the spread of landscapes and artwork here – generally very bright and colourful, but ranging from the human to the very computer-designed environment that the young will only find most appealing. With the Where's Wally bonuses this volume has a lot of fun to provide. It's part of growing up when you discover/learn that mazes are always dead easy if you start at the end and work back to the beginning – but you didn't hear that from me. What you did hear is my final verdict – this is a Wii game, when I grew up with Etch-a-sketch, things have progressed so far and so well.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

And yes, I did laud this book for having a great dragon before realising a whole book full of dragon mazes exists – Dragonmazia by Rolf Heimann.

Buy Labyrinth by Theo Guignard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Labyrinth by Theo Guignard at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Labyrinth by Theo Guignard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Labyrinth by Theo Guignard at Amazon.com.


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