Friday, August 10, 2012

Book #223: I Spy Under the Sea by Edward Gibbs

Image from

Based on the children’s game, each phrase begins with the rhyme, “I spy with my little eye…” Peer through the circular cutout to see part of a sea creature – the tail of a seahorse, the claw of a crab, the tentacle of an octopus. Not only will the guessing game keep readers enthralled, readers will also count down from seven clown fish to one shark.

The text follows the simple repetitive pattern of the game, with additional hints in speech bubbles. Although books that use the I Spy game have been popular for years, I especially like this one because of the lively and playful illustrations. The digital illustrations use bright colors and collage like backgrounds. The illustrations have depth and perspective and are very pleasing to the eye. The circular cutout is the icing on the book design cake. It’s fun to look through the holes to guess the animal and equally fascinating to turn the page and see the cutout all but disappear as it lines up perfectly with the drawing on the previous page.

Many other I Spy books have small images, but this one has a good sized I Spy cutout, so you can share it with a small group instead of just two to three kids. When you read the book, make sure to pan the book so everyone gets a chance to see the clue and guess the animal.

Follow up by making your own I Spy book. You can use photographs from magazines or have kids illustrate their own. You can continue the under the sea theme or pick a new one, such as on the farm, around the house/school/library, plants/nature, birds, animals from a geographic location, etc. You can precut the circles (or any other shape) in the paper or you can help each child decide where to position their cutout.

Use this book with Herman the Helper, Fabulous Fishes, or poems from In the Sea for an under the sea themed storytime. Try rhymes like Animals in the Sea and Fish and Hugs.

If your kids like this book, check out I Spy with My Little Eye also by Gibbs or any of the I Spy books by Jean Marzollo and Walt Wicks.


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