‘What Dat?’ is an amusing treasure hunt


“WHAT DAT? THE GREAT BIG UGLYDOLL BOOK OF THINGS TO LOOK AT, SEARCH FOR, POINT TO, AND WONDER ABOUT,” by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, Random House Books for Young Readers, September 27, 2011, $14.99 (ages 6 and up)

Looking for a creative take on labeling the world?  Then “What Dat?” is the book for you and the curious minds at your house. Part of the “UGLYDOLL” series of books, “What Dat?” takes a look at several different scenes: the “Uglyverse,” a bedroom, a bathroom, a farmer’s market, the sea, outer space, etc. and labels items that might be found in those places. Of course, this is not your typical labeling book. This book is populated by round, monster-like Uglydolls with strange lives and strange items — all ready for the reader to discover.

This book can easily appeal to many different audiences. While the colorful and cartoon-like illustrations will please the youngest of children, those children who can actually read the labels for each item will have the most fun exploring this book. These children will also be more likely to understand the humor behind subtle differences in the depictions of basic items (like a lemonade stand labeled: “Sour O-Rama” or a monster who wants to “see the Faked Moon Landing!!!”). Additionally, adults or teenagers reading along will find many jokes that they can laugh about and enjoy.

Also incorporating a few “I-spy” moments on each page, “What Dat” can become a treasure hunt for young readers. With items that were much easier to find than the traditional “I-Spy” books and a significantly shorter list of things to look out for — this mother enjoyed the hunt and her children’s excitement over “doing it themselves.” And while older children might not feel as challenged by the search requests, they will be amused by the short stories that go along with each quest.

Populated by many different jokes, and dozens of small oddities, “What Dat?” is a book that can be explored again and again — always leaving a smile behind on the reader’s face.

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