i spy

Jeanne Loves Books November 16


Jeanne Love Books column is back! Enjoy these terrific books and shared reading activities.

I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs is a fun, interactive guessing game in a book! It is also a book about colors. The colorful illustrations are of big, welcoming animals that take up most of a two-page spread.

The format is built on these two page spreads. On the left page there is a big circle with an eye in the middle and  “I spy with my little eye…” written above it.

On the right page is a cut-out circle revealing the color of a creature on the next page. Written above is the refrain, “something that is_____”(the color shown in the circle).  At the bottom is a clue to help you guess what kind of animal it is.

One example is, “I spy with my little eye…” “something that is white.  “I live in the Arctic.” Turn the page, and you find a big, white polar bear who tells you, I’m a Polar Bear!” A gray elephant, a yellow lion and a red fox also appear. The text is large and repeats these refrains.

Children love the guessing game which can become a memory exercise as they reread the book. They find it empowering to know the answers and to say them. They also love the repeating refrain of I spy with my little eye.  “Something that is_____”

The last page turns the game around and invites you to say what you see “with your little eye!” There are other titles in the series including, I Spy in the Sea, I Spy in the Sky, I Spy on the Farm.

There are other “I Spy” books out there that take a different approach. This second group usually shows a page full of items and asks you to find a list of specific items. It might be a page filled with small colorful plastic animals and other small plastic items. Below or to the side is a list of specific items to look for. They can be progressively difficult for increasing ages. These versions are fun too, and they can encourage concentration in emerging readers. But they have a lot of visual stimuli, and the Gibbs books are great for younger children or children who do better with less visual clutter on the page.

Shared Reading Activities:

  • Encourage your child to say the repeating refrain after you’ve read it several times
  • Guess the wrong animal and give them a chance to “correct” you after you have read it together a couple of times
  • Act out the clues (together) if possible:  Roar where the clue is, I roar.” Imitate a long elephant trunk where the clue is, “I have a very long trunk.
  • Play the game, “I spy with my little eye something that is_____” in your house, car, store

Author: JeanneLovesBooks

Jeanne is a retired youth services librarian and the former Supervisor of Hennepin County’s Readmobile Program. The Readmobile, which is also retired, was like a Bookmobile, but dedicated to young children, which developed and provided early literacy enriched visits to Head Start Programs, Early Childhood Learning Centers, Child Care Providers and Family, Friend and Neighbor Providers. Jeanne shares literacy info about books for infants through preschoolers in her “Jeanne Loves Books” column once a month. She welcomes your feedback and suggestions for books to highlight.

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