CM . . . .
Volume V Number 6 . . . . November 13, 1998
I spy a shovel and a big rubber duck;In recent years, Scholastic has published a number of "I Spy" books, some organized around themes such as halloween and school. With the I Spy Little Book, the publisher seeks a much younger audience to play their print version of the "I-spy-with-my-little-eye" game. In this board book for toddlers, six rhyming couplets are distributed over a dozen pages, and young children are invited to locate each line's objects amongst the various items found in the colored photograph on the facing page. To assist non-readers in using the book independently, the target items are also illustrated on the poetry page. While the child normally only has to find two objects in each grouping, that task is sometimes made more difficult because the perspective of the sought after item has been changed or it is partly covered by surrounding objects. In one case, youngsters are shown a plastic horse and a toy train caboose, and they must then select the two items from a grouping of silhouettes. The challenge is further increased because the horse's silhouette has been reversed. Depending on their child's age and ability, parents can follow along with the book's poetic directions, or they could abandon the text and simply use the photographs as an opportunity for naming and vocabulary development. A useful book to keep in the away-from-home bag to amuse restless toddlers.
With the arrival of a second granddaughter, Michelle, Dave Jenkinson, who teaches children's and adolescent literature courses in the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, is showing a renewed interest in board books.
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