CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 35. . . .May 13, 2011.
I Spy With My Little Eye Baseball.
Brad Herzog. Photographs by David Milne.
Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press (Distributed in Canada by S&B Books Ltd.), 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
Picture puzzles-Juvenile literature.
Grades 3 and up / Age 8 and up.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.
I spy with my little eye eleven fine gloves and mitts.
Some are old, some brand new, some barely will do.
Try one on. See which one of them fits.
Photo Fact: Although the words “glove” and “mitt” are often used to describe the same piece of equipment, mitts (like those used by catchers and first basemen) do not have individual fingers. They are more like mittens. There are hundreds of models of baseball gloves to choose from these days, but in the earliest days of baseball most players didn’t wear any gloves at all. The last major-leaguer to field without a glove was Jerry Denny, a third baseman who retired in 1894. At that time, most gloves simply consisted of leather padding to protect the palms of the fielders’ hands. Their fingers weren’t even covered!
At some point in their lives, likely almost everyone has played the "I spy with my little eye" game. In a new take on this old pastime, photographer Milne and author Herzog have combined their talents to offer a challenge to viewers:
I spy with my little eye two pictures that look just the same.
An identical view isn’t always what’s true.
Find the changes to play this game.
Fourteen pairs of baseball related photo scenarios call upon viewers to identify the differences which exist between the two photos. Among the 14 pairings, these differences can be as few as 15 and as many as 41 (though the instruction always reads “Find at Least [insert number] Changes” which means that each pairing could contain more changes than the target number. If viewers can't find the appropriate number of differences, then they will just need to keep searching because the book's creators have not provided an answer key.
The photo pairs are of two types, with one type consisting of a single photo of such things as a grouping of baseball bats, gloves and mitts, baseballs, trophies and medals, or a melange of baseball equipment or the covers of baseball books. The second type involves collages of several photos, again revolving around baseball themes, including close plays, pitchers’ ball grips and umpires’ signals. The number of photos in this latter type ranges from a low of three to a high of 11. 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 the excerpts above demonstrate, the text of I Spy With My Little Eye Baseball takes two forms. Below the photo on the left page of each pair of facing pages can be found a three line poem in which the first line identifies the pages' theme and the following lines usually provide brief 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.
A companion volume to I Spy with My Little Eye Hockey, the present work will find a ready audience in school and public libraries, and it would also make an excellent personal purchase. I Spy with My Little Eye Baseball’s title page carries the line “Fun for all ages!” and, consequently, children should not be surprised if they find themselves having to retrieve the book from adults who have found themselves drawn into the search for the elusive differences.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.
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