Growing Bookworms Newsletter: December 5
All These Things I've Done: Gabrielle Zevin

I Spy with My Little Eye: Edward Gibbs

Book: I Spy with My Little Eye
Author: Edward Gibbs
Pages: 32
Age Range: 2-5

51EpO3N3YkL._SL500_AA300_I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs is a deceptively simple, gorgeously constructed picture book for preschoolers. It will pull in curious, tactile young readers from the very cover. There's no dust jacket. Instead, there's a cut-out where the eye is, just begging kids to stick their hands into the hole, and open up the book. The eye is then shown in a spyglass-like frame on the title page.

Throughout the book, the same theme is repeated. On the first page spread, an eye in a blue face is shown inside the spyglass frame on the left. On the right is a hole, revealing something blue on the other side. The text reads:

"I spy with my little eye...
something that is blue."

Then underneath, in a dialog bubble from the animal:

"I am the biggest animal in the whole world."

Turning the page reveals a blue whale (and another dialog bubble saying so). This continues through the book, with other colors, and other animals. It's a little like Nina Laden's Peek-A-Who, with the cutouts and hints pulling children forward. But I Spy with My Little Eye is a bit more grown up than that. It's not a board book. And Gibbs' digitally created illustrations of the animals are truly beautiful, from gray elephant to orange orangutan to red fox. Kids may not have a difficult time guessing what each animal is, but they'll enjoy the process anyway.

I Spy with My Little Eye adds an element of sophistication to the traditional toddler picture book showing animals and colors. This is a book that doesn't condescend to the young reader, and will also please parents confronted with reading the same book over and over again. I Spy with My Little Eye is solidly and creatively constructed, and the perfect melding of inform and entertain. Highly recommended. This would be a wonderful birthday gift for any 2 or 3 year old.

Publisher: Templar Books / Candlewick Press (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: April 12, 2011
Source of Book: Cybils review copy from the publisher
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Julie
Also reviewed by: morninglightmama | rebeccareid

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).