Source: Unsplash by BBiDDac

A little history

The illustrious and legendary “Where’s Wally?” has made its way into millions of households all over the world since its first release in 1987 (The Guardian, 2015), which kick-started the worldwide Wally phenomenon!

Created by the British illustrator Martin Handford, the books entail a search for Wally and his friends as they travel around the world.

Though “Where’s Wally?” is a worldwide phenomenon, Wally is not known as “Wally” in all countries. In the United States and Canada, he is known as “Waldo”; in Denmark, he is “Holger”; in France, he is “Charlie”; and in Germany, he is “Walter”. He also has many other names in various countries. The decision to change the name for each country was so audiences could relate better to the character. Although I have to say, I do prefer the original! Nothing beats it.

New characters

Over the years, there have been a few new additions to the original format, with new characters added for us to find in each scene.

So, what started off as searching only for Wally, soon became searching for Wally, his friends and his nemesis:

  • Wilma and her identical twin sister Wenda — are both friends of Wally.
  • Woof — Wally’s dog and good friend.
  • Wizard Whitebeard — with his exceptionally long beard, which is often the key to finding him — was originally responsible for sending Wally on a quest to discover the truth about himself but has tagged along on Wally’s travels ever since.
  • The Wally Watchers — who turn up wherever Wally goes. They are Wally’s devoted fan club and followers.
  • Odlaw, the arch-nemesis of Wally — appears nearly the same as Wally, except that his clothes are yellow and black striped instead of red and white; his glasses have a blue tint to them, and he has a moustache.

My search for the Legend

Ever since I got a hold of my first “Where’s Wally?” book as a child, I’ve been completely hooked and have even taken a few of them on vacations. In total, spending countless hours in search of Wally over the years.

Though everyone connects with the books in their own way, I guess it was on a deeper level than most for me. When looking for Wally, it was as if I was really searching for myself, a person who felt equally as lost. Or maybe it was the idea of searching for something more than myself. In any case, the continuous search led me down an enjoyable and sometimes fascinating rabbit hole.

So, why so popular?

So, why has “Where’s Wally?” been so popular over the years?


1. The North American version, “Where’s Waldo?”, spent more than 93 weeks in the number one spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List. In addition to selling over 70 million copies worldwide, in 31 different languages (Toppsta, 2015).

2. The books are very entertaining and are still as much fun now as they were when they were first released!

3. Though the books may seem like they are for children, they are actually for everyone of all ages, and you can easily spend a few minutes to hours getting lost in the pages.

4. Searching for Wally and his friends allows time for technology detoxification and relaxing your mind whilst also stimulating it, which enables you to be present and in the moment.

5. An immense sense of relief, satisfaction, and joy can be felt when you find Wally and his friends.

6. It has since been made into an animated series, allowing the audience to connect with Wally and his friends on a much deeper level.

Though “Where’s Wally?” is still as popular as ever, with talks of a live-action movie in the works, you can be sure there will be a surge of new fans emerging, all around the world.

So, if you have never had the opportunity to go in search of Wally and his friends, I’d highly recommend it. You’re missing out if you don’t!

Published by Devi DM

Inspiration and creativity allow me to do what I love. Whether it's writing poetry, lyrics, songs or articles that I enjoy, and brings joy to others' lives and makes them feel good. I've received various qualifications and accreditations and enjoy learning something new every day. I hope you enjoy the read and know you are appreciated.


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