Monthly Archives: March 2020

Puzzle Review: Eurographics’ Tea Cup Collection

Delicate tea cups and saucers featuring floral designs will put you in the mood for a “spot of tea” with this 1,000-piece puzzle. And a pot or two you might need while working it: this is a challenging puzzle with only a few bright colors and dainty flowers with minute differences to set them apart in the collection!

As you can see from my photo of the worked puzzle, there’s a LOT of white. I would have liked to see a bit more variety and color in the tea cups’ designs, to add interest.

That’s why I’m giving this puzzle: 3 out of 5 puzzle pieces.


Spotlight Review: Two Bicycles in Beijing

Two Bicycles in Beijing

by Teresa Robeson

Illustrated by Junyi Wu

Readers will zip through the sights and sounds of Beijing along with Lunzi and Huangche, two colorful bicycles destined to be best friends, in Teresa Robeson’s newest delightful picture book.

Manufactured together, Lunzi and Huangche hope to never part. But when a young girl buys Huangche, Lunzi worries it will never again see its friend in the big city. However, a delivery boy soon chooses Lunzi to help with his errands, and off they go. As Lunzi flies on two wheels through the crowds, it watches carefully for a flash of yellow. But there are many festive yellow sights in Beijing. Just when Lunzi is about to give up hope, one last flash of yellow – along with a new friendship between the girl and boy – ensure Lunzi and Huangche will be able to remain friends no matter where they travel in Beijing.

Robeson’s joyful and optimistic text offers many wonderful opportunities for Wu’s softly colorful artwork to shine. Chinese words stand side by side with English for a nice introduction to a new language (a glossary of Mandarin Chinese terms used in the book follows the story), and back matter offers a bit more information on some of the sights highlighted in the story, including Nanguan and Beihai Parks and Tiananmen Square. This sweet story of friendship set in a bright, bustling city is a perfect addition to any bookshelf.

Puzzle Review: Buffalo Games: Cake Shed

When I work a larger puzzle, I like to have a mix between small details and big focal points in the artwork. This 2,000-piece puzzle offers this balance nicely, for example with a brightly-colored chair right up front and sardined bottles and jars of cake toppings in the background. I also like when puzzle designers offer interesting vignettes; this peak into the creative work area of a “cake artist” fits that bill as well.

The puzzle itself features sturdy pieces with helpful cuts for those hard-t0-place ones – when puzzle manufacturers offer small hints through the cut design in single-color portions of the art without detracting from the challenge, my old eyes are appreciative. All in all, Cake Shed is a fun family-sized puzzle full of great detail and contemporary colors. I recommend it for older teens and up.

I give this puzzle: 5 out of 5 puzzle pieces.