________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 15 . . . . March 16, 2007

cover

I Spy Santa Claus. (Scholastic Reader, Level 1).

Jean Marzollo. Photographs by Walter Wick.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2005.
32 pp., pbk., $5.50.
ISBN 0-439-78414-X.

Subject Headings:

Picture puzzles-Juvenile literature.
Santa Claus-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 1 / Ages 5-6.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

excerpt:

I spy

a belt,

a bell that’s blue,

a teddy bear’s bow,

and a butterfly, too.

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:

I spy two matching words.

Santa cap bear

two socks

Santa in the sky

or

I spy two words that start with the letters GL

glasses

sailing ship

star’s yellow glow

     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.

Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children’s and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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