Usborne Books, £4.99, ISBN 978-1-4095-7779-9
Puzzle Gamebook, 2014
Just like other entries in Usborne’s Sticker Puzzle series, Sticker Puzzle Island is actually a repurposed older title given a “sticker” twist to make it more interactive. Fortunately, this time the stickers are smaller and less intrusive, so comparatively less of Brenda Haw’s lovely artwork needs to be obscured after a session of puzzle-solving. The stickers are surprisingly sturdy and they still stick after a few rounds of pasting and peeling, so there is some decent replay value in this one.
In this one, we meet Sam Swashbuckle, who thinks that being a pirate is a cute thing to do. After all, you get a parrot BFF, and you spend your time looking for treasures! Children can be so cute. Naturally, our aspiring pirate needs your help to locate a treasure. Sam and his parrot Percy sail out to locate the treasure hidden in Puzzle Island, and he’d need your help to decipher clues and such along the way. His nemesis Horatio is on his trail, so it’s your job to look out for him in most of every spread too. Puzzle Island is also home to the pink elephants – no, there is nothing naughty here, people – so it is also your job to locate and count the number of pink elephants hidden on every spread. Oh, and don’t forget to also seek out “pirate” items, one hidden in each spread, and if you want to cheat, the solution page lists down which item is stashed away on which spread.
This one is similar to other titles in terms of format too. Each page spread is one single puzzle scenario, and the puzzles are pretty standard: navigate a maze, look for hidden things, spot the differences between two images, et cetera. Kids will get to test out their observation, map-reading and deductive skills here. The puzzles here aren’t too hard, and would probably be easy-peasy if you are older, but some can be pretty challenging for younger kids.
Yes, the story is silly, and the treasure Sam is looking for is “Oh, please!” material, but still, remember, this one is for kids. And for such a gamebook, this one’s perfectly alright.