Hidden Figures

After reading the title of this post, you’re probably thinking of the 2016 movie of the same name. But I’m thinking of this person.

Back in the day, I was really into the Waldo books. If you don’t know what those are, they are picture books in which the reader is tasked with finding Waldo, a character hidden within a crowded scene.

Like this one.

Not as easy as it sounds. How about you? Have you see the Waldo books? Were you ever a fan?

Though I knew this series was the creation of London illustrator Martin Handford (left) back in the 80s, I didn’t realize the character was originally called Wally in the UK until I looked for images for this post. The name had been changed when the books were published in the U.S. The character also has different names in other countries where the books are found.

I wondered why finding this character (and others, like Wenda, Wilma, and Odlaw [below]) was and still is popular. (You can even find Waldo on Facebook.) According to this article at Smithsonian.com, it all comes down to the satisfaction of visual search—staring fixedly at something until you find what you’re looking for. This is why word searches are so popular. Also, the search for Waldo/Wally has helped scientists study eye movement.


Here’s another article on the science of finding Waldo: https://exploringyourmind.com/how-does-our-brain-find-waldo/

Writing a memoir or a biography is a kind of search. Instead of looking for Waldo, the author looks for his or her place or his or her subject’s place in the vast arena of history. And yes, that’s the segue to the reveal of what you probably came for: the winner of a copy of Mennonite Daughter—The Story of a Plain Girl by the one and only Marian Beaman. Click here for the interview with Marian.


The winner of Mennonite Daughter—The Story of a Plain Girl is Lori of Lori’s Lane!

Thank you to all who commented.

Henry is convinced that he would make an excellent Waldo. In fact, he thinks you’ll have a hard time finding him in this photo.

Waldo postcard from blogspot.com. Book cover from barnesandnoble.com. Martin Handford photo from waldo.fandom.com. Wenda from somewhere on Pinterest. Odlaw from Waldo.wikia. Henry photo by L. Marie.

46 thoughts on “Hidden Figures

  1. He’s Wally in Australia, too! I was never patient enough to actually find him, though I do get annoyed when previous readers have circled him (and the others) in the library copies!

    When we were in the States in July, there was a Waldo event happening at a bookshop we visited. I think he’s having a milestone birthday or something? Or possibly it was just a summer reading activity. I can’t actually remember.

    • They are indeed, Jill!
      I still get excited whenever I see a Where’s Waldo challenge. 😄
      Occasionally I’ll do a word search. Making a word search puzzle, though, is even more fun!

  2. I like crosswords better than word search (or Waldo search) puzzles ~ instead of a visual search, I’m searching my internal data banks and filing cabinets. 😆

    Congrats to Lori.

  3. Congratulations to Lori! The research on visual searching explains why I like puzzles and digital hidden object games. There is something strangely satisfying about finding all the pieces or making them fit. I’m sorry to admit that I never got into looking for Waldo. Somehow I miss out on that 🙁

  4. Oh Wow. Thank you, L. I’d love to read her memoir.

    BTW, I never heard of Waldo until I became an adult. Could it have started after my time? Maybe my mom just didn’t buy those for me as a kid. I don’t know. 🤷‍♀️

    Thank you so much for the win. 😚

      • Ahem, yes, 30 years, that’s why (ack). I was in my 20’s. 😜

        Decision making isn’t my strong point. Heh. Hmm, Kindle or paperback. It doesn’t matter, so whichever one is less expensive. Lately I’ve been seeing Kindle cost more money than paperback, and I don’t understand why. There is no paper involved, so why does it cost more? 🤷‍♀️

        Thank you again, I’m happy with either. 🌹

  5. I didn’t know who Waldo was though I’ve sometimes seen references to him and just been a bit baffled, so you’ve educated me today! You’d think his stylish dress sense would make him stand out from the crowd… 😉

    • Ha ha yes! I didn’t know Waldo/Wally was still in vogue. But then again, there are so many activities in which a crowd of people dress like Waldo/Wally. I guess that keeps him relevant. 😀

  6. Congrats to Lori. Right now I’m on an intensive book tour, so L. Marie’s is the only blog I’ve commented on this week.

    By the way, I really like (no, loved) the movie Hidden Figures. I’m inspired when film-makers give honor to those to whom it is past due. Brava!

  7. I like word searches but Waldo never called to me. On the other hand I’m observant by nature, so I do notice many things that have meaning to me. Like colors, in gardens or homes. Or the word choices/fonts in adverts. That’s sort of like looking for Waldo… kind of.

  8. Congratulations, Lori!
    Where’s Waldo started as a gift for one of our daughters and immediately became family fun. LOVED Waldo, as we knew him. I brought it into the office where I worked at the time, showed it to my boss, and he was lost in it for about an hour, coming out sheepishly from his office with the book. It didn’t end there. Oh no. Another saw it and borrowed it for yet another hour or so. 🙂 Fun post, and great lead-up to the reveal.

  9. Congrats to Lori on her book tour. Looks like it’s going great. I didn’t participate in Where’s Waldo years ago but now that it’s digital, I do. I like how it teaches kids their geography in a way they like to learn!

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