Review: “I Love London” by Mike Jupp, Gibsons — 9.5/10

Gibsons is a high-quality puzzle brand from the UK with beautiful blue boxes, very thick pieces, a standard grid cut, and a waxy matte finish. Their Mike Jupp series of “I Love…” puzzles are some of the best cartoon puzzles on the market. The art work is of exceptional quality and has a wealth of fine detail. “I Love London” is a comic look at the great city of London with a range of crazy characters. You’ll have a lot of fun assembling this puzzle and getting a closer look at the sight gags and mini stories within the scene. Assembly is easy-to-moderate with no one area being especially difficult. You may find yourself referencing the box lid a lot! Recommended for anyone who likes cartoon puzzles and humor, or for those with a soft spot for London.

Review: “I Love Gardening” by Mike Jupp, Gibsons – 9.5/10

Gibsons is a high-quality puzzle brand from the UK with beautiful blue boxes, very thick pieces, and a waxy matte finish. Their Mike Jupp series of “I Love…” puzzles is enormously popular in the UK and for good reason. These busy cartoon puzzles are filled with fine detail, bright colors, and humorous sight gags. It’s fun to discover all the characters and animals as you piece this puzzle together. The grid cut, seamless finish, and excellent image reproduction all mark this as a AAA brand with an excellent tactile feel. Due to the standard piece cut, some pieces may appear to go where they don’t belong, which makes this brand more challenging to work than some. If you like cartoon puzzles, you’ll definitely want to check out the Mike Jupp puzzles in this series. “I Love Gardening” is ideal for those who have a green thumb or just like a moderately difficult and detailed puzzle.

Mike Jupp’s “I Love…” Series

This is one of the highest quality cartoon series around thanks to the good quality of the Gibson brand and, more importantly, Mike Jupp’s oustanding illustrations.  Here’s the series.  These puzzles have been released over the years, but they are all still in print. I LOVE THE COUNTRY       (click for larger view)… Continue Reading →

Review: “St. Francis” by Randy Wollenmann, Sunsout – 9.25/10

“St. Francis” is a gorgeous inspirational puzzle with a stained glass look. The puzzle is bright and beautiful with very crisp artwork, and the end result is worthy of framing. I loved assembling it too. The inner scene of St. Francis was easy to piece together, but the arched frame of leaves, berries, and doves was challenging because it’s a repeating pattern. I had a blast assembling that part because I was in the mood for something that took more thought and effort. The Sunsout quality is very good, with sturdy pieces and a nice random piece cut. I like that you can move around a set of joined pieces without them falling apart. This is a moderate-to-difficult puzzle but worth every piece placed! Highly recommended.

Review: “Whistle Stop Christmas” by Charles Wysocki — Buffalo Games 9.25/10

“Whistle Stop Christmas” is a sweet holiday puzzle from artist Charles Wysocki and Buffalo Games. It’s an easy puzzle to assemble with 500 pieces and strong color and detail that makes it clear where each piece goes. I love the theme of people arriving home for Christmas. As you assemble the puzzle, you’ll smile at the happiness on all the individual faces. The unique costumes and expressions are delightful. I partricularly liked the orange sky on the horizon, the red train station with all the windows, bows, and detailing, and the wintery “white Christmas” snow. The Buffalo Games quality is very good with grid cut pieces and a nice box that comes with a poster. Recommended to all fans of Christmas puzzles.

Review: “A Girl’s Stocking” by Liz Goodrick Dillon, Sunsout – 9.25/10

I loved shaped puzzles. There aren’t that many released each year, so I treasure the good ones when they come along. This stocking-shaped Christmas puzzle is really delightful. The curved border is fun to work with and the image is filled with bright colors and patterns that keep you moving from one object to the other without wanting to stop. I love the quiet scene by the Christmas tree and the soft, painterly art style. The Sunsout quality is excellent too, with sturdy pieces and a fun random piece cut. Highly recommended.

Review: “Gobbler Farms” by Dona Gelsinger, Sunsout — 8.25/10

If you’re looking for a fall or Thanksgiving-themed puzzle, you won’t find one than embodies the mood more than “Gobbler Farms”. I love the large turkeys and pumpkins in this image and the bright fall colors. This puzzle is oversized with very large pieces. It’s the size of many 2000 piece puzzles when done. The Sunsout quality is good, but the gloss on the pieces made some of the turkey feather highlights hard to see when I did this puzzle at night under overhead lights. The final puzzle is impressive and would look good framed. Recommended.

Review: “Halloween Town” by Randy Wollenmann, Vermont Christmas Company – 9.25/10

I loved assembling this Halloween puzzle! The image by Randy Wollenmann has bright colors and patterns that make assembly easy, quick, and super fun. It was so much fun I completed the puzzle in one session because I just had to do the “next little bit”. The Vermont Christmas Company quality is good with hard, solid pieces. The cut is mostly a grid cut, but not all edges line up and some sides have wavy and diagonal edges. This gave the puzzle a unique personality, and I enjoyed working it. This puzzle is easy enough that it makes an ideal family puzzle. It’s the best of the 2016 Halloween season!

Review: “Trick or Treat Hotel” by Charles Wysocki, Buffalo Games – 9.25/10

I love this 500 piece Halloween puzzle from Charles Wysocki and Buffalo Games. The artwork has a wry, adult tone reminiscent of Edward Gorey. The scene is populated by strange creatures, pumpkins, cobwebs, and tongue-in-cheek signs like “Rooms to Ferment” and the “Pithias Bloodlust Wrinkledeath” motto on the hearse. The puzzle is mostly easy but the forest behind the mansion has a random pattern which offers a little more challenge and makes the puzzle overall more satisfying to complete. The Buffalo Games quality is quite good. The pieces feel thick and are pleasant to work with. It comes with a poster in the box so you have a larger image to work with. There is some glare off the glossy surface under strong overhead lights. This puzzle is a real treat. Highly recommended!

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