Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday 13 April 2014

Spot the Difference

Scene 1: July 1988, Cardiff, Wales
Setting: Strolling though the streets of Cardiff and entering a bookshop.
Action: As a fledgling teacher librarian, it was only natural to head to the children’s section where a mixture of English and Welsh language books were displayed. A familiar character leapt off the shelves into my arms. I stared at Spot with his party hat, bone and blue balloon and read the title – Parti pen-blwydd Smot. Without knowing a word of Welsh I knew that this was the story of Spot’s birthday party. I opened the cover, turned the pages, lifted the flaps and ‘read’ the story. What fun! This would be a wonderful way for children to read, compare, contrast and share a favourite story and character. So… the book was bought and stowed in the bottom of the suitcase.
Scene 2: September 1988 Limerick, Ireland
Setting: Strolling though the streets of Limerick and entering a bookshop.
Action: Heading straight to the children’s section with a mission – Yes! There was a row of Spot books on the shelves. And in the middle was Bran a lá breithe with Spot in his birthday hat, complete with blue balloon and beribboned bone. And so a collection was born.
Scenes 3, 4, 5….

Over the years and through the course of several overseas trips a range of Spot books has been added to the collection, but not always the story of Spot’s birthday party. With translations in over 60 languages, Spot can be spotted in bookshops across the globe. Although available for purchase online, that would take away the fun, adventure and exploration that is involved in adding to the collection in situ. The collection is a form of memorabilia as it symbolises significant destinations over a series of journeys. Spot titles on my bookshelf include the French Spot á la ferme, the German Flecki im park, Spot goes to school in the Italian Spotty va a scuola and the first story of this much loved pup, the bilingual Chinese version Xiaobo zai nali | Where’s Spot? purchased in a massive Chinese stationery store in Singapore.


As time passes, the availability of Spot books in some foreign countries has become more problematic, but the thrill of the chase, the exploration of unusual backstreets, visiting shops you would otherwise not enter and the delight in finding the unexpected, remains. There is always the dilemma of what to do if you cannot find a Spot book on a shop’s shelves – in Kingston or Istanbul for example – or if you see another local language title that you recognise. And that is another story…



Jennie Bales


(Apologies from the blog officer - I have no idea why the font etc is varying in this wonderful blog!)


  1. What a lovely hunt

  2. Love this Jennie! Around the world in 80 Spots... the challenge is there to help you make it to 80. I'll be travelling in Eastern Europe in May & June, let me know if you need a Romanian, Slovakian, Polish, Hungarian etc copy. I'll do my best to find some. Cheers Jessie