________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 7 . . . . November 21, 2008

cover I Spy With My Little Eye: Hockey.

Matt Napier. Photographs by David Milne.
Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $15.50.
ISBN 978-1-58536-365-0.

Subject Headings:
Hockey-Juvenile literature.
Picture puzzles-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4


I spy with my little eye, hockey jerseys hung in a row.
Look for numbers that change, colours rearranged, see them from the minors to pro.

Photo Fact: Hockey jerseys come in all colours and with all kinds of distinctive designs. In the early days, each team only had one jersey that they wore for all games. It is now common practice for teams of all ages and levels to have two jerseys — one for home games and one for away games. Many professional teams now also have alternate jerseys that they might wear on special occasions as a tribute to the history of their team, or just to try out new designs.


At some time, almost everyone has likely played the "I spy with my little eye" game. In a new take on this old pastime, photographer Milne and author Napier have combined their talents to offer viewers 14 pairs of hockey related photo scenarios in which the viewer is called upon to identify the differences to be found between the photo pairings. If Napier's name sounds familiar, it may be because he authored Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet and Hat Tricks Count: A Hockey Counting Book.

internal art

     The photo pairs essentially alternate between two types. The first consists of a single photo of such things as a grouping of hockey sweaters, goalie helmets, hockey trophies and medals, or a melange of hockey equipment or hockey cards. The second type involves collages of photos, again revolving around hockey themes like referees, practices or girls in hockey. The number of photos in the collages ranges from a low of six to a high of 13. Because the separate photos in the collages are smaller, these pages may present more challenges to viewers as they look for the differences within the photos' details.

     As can be observed in the excerpts above, the book's text takes two forms. Below the photo on the left page of each pair of facing pages can be found a rhyming couplet in which the first line identifies the pages' theme while the second line provides a few hints to assist the viewer in beginning to identify the pages' differences. The recto contains a "Photo Fact" text box, also located below the photo. This text provides brief information related to the paired pages' theme. The recto also includes the directions on how many differences viewers need to find. In the case of the jerseys, viewers must "Find at least 14 Changes." If viewers can't find the appropriate number, then they will need to keep searching because the book's creators have not provided an answer key.

     Overall, the contents of I Spy with My Little Eye: Hockey will keep viewers, young and old, engaged for many hours. However, I do have a couple of quibbles. There is dissonance between the rhyming text for the hockey helmets pages and the instructions regarding how many changes to find, with the former saying "count thirteen changes or more" and the latter instructing "Find at least 18 changes." Napier's text that accompanies photos of hockey equipment reads, in part: "Even goalies did not wear masks in the early years of the game." In place of the vague wording of "early years," why did Napier not at least indicate the decade in which goalies began to more routinely don masks?

     Historically, the game of hockey has been a male dominated sport, but I Spy with My Little Eye: Hockey does acknowledge female participation via one of its photo spreads, and gender inclusion can be found as well in Napier's text and some of Milne's photo collages.

     In addition to being a most worthy purchase for both school and public libraries, I Spy with My Little Eye: Hockey would be a fine gift purchase for a child or youth. Adults will also find themselves drawn into the search for the elusive missing difference.


Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM's editor.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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