CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 15 . . . . March 16, 2007
Unlike I Spy a Pumpkin, which quickly abandoned its direct link to Halloween, the content of I Spy Santa Claus remains on its seasonal target because all of its images were originally part of a 1992 publication, I Spy Christmas. I Spy Santa Claus is part of the “Scholastic Reader” series, and this specific title is a “Level 1" book which the publisher says contains “Short sentences and stories made up of words kids can sound out using their phonics skills and words that are important to remember.” The design of the first 20 pages sees a page containing a sentence of text facing a full-page photo illustration. The sentence, which contains an internal rhyme, invites the beginning reader to find four or five different objects that are somewhere in the photo. As part of the text, there is also an illustration of each object to be found so that, even if a child cannot read the words, as long as s/he understands the book’s concept, s/he can participate in the book’s activity. The book’s last eight pages are Marzollo’s “riddles,” which draw attention to the book’s words and not its images. Examples include:
The second of these two challenges poses an additional test for the beginning reader who must also be able to recognize the lower case equivalent of the upper case sought after letters.
As an early introduction and motivator to reading, I Spy Santa Claus adequately serves its role.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children’s and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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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.