Where's Wally? was published in the United States and Canada as Where's Waldo?. It is a series of children's books created by British illustrator Martin Handford. The books consist of a series of detailed double-page spread illustrations depicting dozens or more people doing a variety of amusing things at a given location. Readers are challenged to find a character named Wally hidden in the group.
Wally's distinctive red-and-white striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses make him slightly easier to recognise, but many illustrations contain "red herrings" involving deceptive use of red-and-white striped objects. Later entries in the long-running book series added other targets for readers to find in each illustration.
The first book in the series, titled Where's Wally (known as Waldo in the US and Canada), was published in 1987. The books became extremely popular and were localised for many different territories, with name changes for Wally in certain regions. The franchise also spawned other media in a more storyline-based form, including TV series (The Simpsons,Frasier or Family Guy), a comic strip and series of video games.
There are currently seven primary Wally books. The books were released both in hard-cover (for the original books) and subsequently in paperback. Each contains around a dozen scenes with Wally hidden in them. Each book has additional hidden objects and/or characters hidden in each scene specific to that book. The books usually reserve telling the reader about some item(s) to find until the end of the book so that the reader will have to go through the book again. The books contain checklists for each scene of interesting things or people to find.
In addition to the primary seven books, other books have also been published in the Wally franchise. The first alternate-format Wally book was the "Ultimate Fun Book". In addition to standard Wally scenes, this paperback activity book featured other types of games and activities, as well as cardboard punch-outs and stickers.
There was also a series of geographical magazines made available for children in Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa and Malta, called Wally's World. In each issue Wally would travel to a different country or region of the world telling the reader interesting facts.
A film based on the "Where's Wally?" series of books has been pursued by various studios. Nickelodeon was the most recent studio to take an interest in the idea but when the regime at Paramount (Nickelodeon's parent company) changed, the project was cancelled.
In June, 2009, it was announced that Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment had acquired the rights to turn Where's Wally? into a live-action film.