A clever spin on the classic phrase I Spy with My Little Eye, this book by Edward Gibbs has a peep hole on each page showing a tiny bit of the animal on the next page so that young readers can guess what animal is about to appear. A huge crowd pleaser!
There are, approximately, ten bazillion I Spy type books (the I Spy books that I grew up with became the bane of my existence as a librarian because the kids would pull all of them off the shelf (and there were probably 30 of them), causing the rest of the books on the shelf to collapse in an enormous heap and forcing me to pull my hair out).
So, even with high praise from other places, I was a little dubious about I Spy with My Little Eye.
But, surprise! I loved it. In our house, the sign of a good book is that I make Bart read it to Ella so that he can see how wonderful and fabulous it is.
I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs
Each page of I Spy with My Little Eye shows the eye of an animal on the left page and then, on the right page, there is a hole that shows a piece of the animal’s body along with a clue about it (“I have a very long trunk”). Then you flip the page and the hole fits perfectly over the eye from the previous page to display the entire animal.
The clue pages are really clean and white, while the animal pages are richly colored and take up the entire space. It’s such an nice juxtaposition and it’s surprisingly pleasing every time I read it.
It’s not a very long book and it’s clearly aimed at fairly young children – perfect for my target audience of one. The cover feels like a board book, although the pages are not board (I will say, though, that they are quite a bit sturdier pages than most paper pages, which is necessary to hold up to kids sticking their fingers in the peep holes).
Delightfully, there is a spy hole cut-out on the back cover so you can look for your own things to spy. (Or, you know, your child. I don’t know how much time you personally have to be going around looking at things through a spy hole. Maybe lots. . . ).
Also, I’m sure most people who read a lot of picture books can relate to the fact that I have seen so many pictures and photographs of animals that I could correctly identify the animals based on one little circle.
And yet, these illustrations of popular animals (whale, elephant, polar bear,etc) were so gorgeous and different, I couldn’t help but love them.