He may be clumsy in solving mysteries on screen, but Scooby-Doo always loves a challenge; in Scooby-Doo Meet Big Foot, the ‘Ameri-canine’ icon makes reading more interesting for the young and the old while solving a mystery on the side-lines.

In this picture clue book, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy do what has made them the most beloved animated duo of the past three generations. The two along with their pals Fred, Daphne and Velma go on a camping trip where they discover that they aren’t alone. Things become more mysterious when Scooby-Doo stumbles on a huge footprint, which by the looks of it, might be the footprint of the Big Foot!

What makes this adventure exciting are the two things that have made the snack-sniffling sleuth everyone’s favourite cartoon character — picture and clues. Each double spread has a huge picture of the adventure on one side while in the text, simple words are replaced by pictures, making the reader think twice while going through the pages. Instead of writing ‘cabin’ in the text, the author has placed a picture of a cabin, and the same goes for other things such as forest, lake, bags and van.

The technique used by this book is known as ‘Rebus Puzzle’ where a picture represents a common name, work or even a phrase. There are as many as 24 such puzzles on these pages giving both young and old readers a chance to exercise their brain cells and solve a mystery as well. The writers have tried their best to use a picture as a tool for learning a word and have succeeded big time in their efforts.

What this book gives the young readers is a sense of achievement and pride that he or she is “reading” the story as well as solving puzzles on the way. All of the two dozen words that have been replaced in the text can be found at the end of the book, which can be turned into fun flashcards. These flashcards can be used in any kind of game that might not involve this book, making it a bonus feature for no extra charge.

As for the story, it completes with a usual Scooby-Doo twist but not before the team discovers food (like always!), adds up the clues, and indulges in Scooby snacks. It is only when you have deciphered the clues that you will find out what Big Foot was doing in the forest, how his appearance changed the mood of the gang, and how the meddling kids solved the mystery. Mysterious, isn’t it?

Published in Dawn, Young World, December 9th, 2023

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