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"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.

It's time again to talk about new puzzles! There are not a ton of new releases in November/December since the holiday puzzles normally come out earlier than that, but there are a few. PLUS, we have the first peek at the 2017 Ravensburger UK line. Awesome. NEW IN STOCK Here's what's new in stock at Puzzle Warehouse. Below are my...

White Mountain's "Santa's Big Night" is a classic Christmas puzzle you'll want to add to your permanent collection. The image is ideal for puzzling with five separate Santa scene vignettes. The colors are bright and cheerful, and the painted artwork couldn't be more Christmassy. I especially loved the scene in the upper right with the snow-covered fur trees and the children playing in the snow. This is an easy-to-moderate puzzle that would be perfect to work with a group at Christmas, given the layout of the various story panels. The quality is quite good. I especially like White Mountain's larger piece size and very flat, smooth finish. Highly recommended for everyone this holiday season!

"Father's Christmas Train" is a cute Americana painting by Susan Brabeau that's been made into a 500 piece puzzle by Sunsout. At the heart of the painting is a dad having a grand time playing with trains while his disinterested son reads a book. The cozy living room is decorated for Christmas and there's a definite nostalgia vibe to the image. The Sunsout quality is very good, with sturdy pieces and a fun random piece cut. I like that you can move around a set of joined pieces without them falling apart. This is an easy puzzle that you can do in a single setting and would be good for kids and seniors. Recommended.

RUYER WEEK: This week I'm featuring cartoon puzzle artist Francois Ruyer. He has done puzzles with a few brands, but primarily with Austrian manufacturer Piatnik. I reviewed two Ruyer puzzles this week (Christmas Chaos and Story of Wine) and here's the promised interview. View all current Ruyer puzzles in stock at Puzzle Warehouse See my previous Ruyer reviews here. FRANCOIS RUYER INTERVIEW: Thank...

If you've up for a challenge, "Story of Wine" by Francois Ruyer is a ton of fun. The image is super cute with lots of crazy characters and vibrant color. There are plenty of jokes and mini-stories to reveal as you assemble the pieces. The Piatnik quality is very good with thick, sturdy pieces, a grid cut, a fairly tight fit, and a nice matte finish. However, there are lots of similar two-knob, two-hole pieces which make a few areas, like the random red tiles on the roofs, challenging because pieces can appear to fit where they don't go. There're also lots of repeating elements such as the big red noses. This isn't a fast and easy puzzle, but it is rewarding and very satisfying to complete. Recommended if you like busy cartoon puzzles or are looking for something to keep you occupied for a good while!

"Christmas Chaos" by Francois Ruyer is a fun but moderately challenging Christmas cartoon puzzle. The artwork is beautifully executed with tons of color and detail. The repeating elements of similar-looking elves and gift boxes scattered throughout the image are tricky, but there are some anchoring elements such as the windows, fireplace, toys, and Christmas tree, which help fill in much of the design. I found myself referring to the box lid often to figure out which piece of elf went where. The Piatnik quality is very good with thick, sturdy pieces, a grid cut, a fairly tight fit, and a nice matte finish. If you like a little more challenge, Christmas puzzles, or cartoon puzzles, this is highly recommended.

I'm so excited that the new Heye puzzles for 2017 are here! Well, they're not here, as in physically--not yet. But we have the new catalog so I can announce them on the blog. As for an ETA for Puzzle Warehouse to get them in stock, we order them as soon as possible and will get...

"Cats in Paris" by Sven Hartmann is a moderately difficult puzzle from Heye. The cats in the foreground are all unique and you can figure out where the pieces go by comparing them to the large poster that's included. The sky, cityscape, and gargoyle areas of the puzzle are more of a challenge to put together, though the strong color variation in the sky keeps it from being tedious. There's lot of interesting details to discover, French cliches and tropes the cats act out. As always, the Heye quality is outstanding with sturdy pieces, a matte finish, and a wide variety of grid-cut piece shapes. If you like cats or have a fondness for Paris, you'll enjoy this one.

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