I Spy with my little eye… by Edward Gibbs takes the well known, eponymous game and transforms it into the most beautiful of books. Every other page the reader is invited to guess what “I can spy with my little eye”, through a cut-out circle that gives us a glimpse of the following illustration. Each guess is based not on what a word begins with, but rather its colour, accompanied by a short hint, for example “I spy with my little eye… something that is white. The North Pole is my home.”
Gibbs’ illustration are sumptuous. Large scale, filling each page to the brim with a bright burst of colour, his animals are majestic and rather awe inspiring. The sense of anticipation created by the peep-holes only adds to the excitement and enjoyment of these wonderful pictures, which at times remind me a little of Catherine Rayner‘s work.
A super book for learning colours, for interaction, both between reader/listener and the book, and between the adult playing the game with the child listening, I’d really love to see I Spy with my little eye… available as a board book – I think the vibrant colours, the holes, the playfulness and the short text all add up to make this a book perfect for sharing with the very youngest of children.
Inspired by this post from the Artful Parent following a suggestion from MaryAnn Kohl, I prepared some pieces of card with a variety of holes cut out to see how the children would respond. How would having holes in their drawing surface influence what they drew?
Very quickly the game became drawing a frame of some sort to go round our faces:
M also wanted to create images which “teased” through holes, so I prepared some card folded over with holes cut out and waited to see what M came up with.
Whilst drawing and making holes we listened to:
Other activities which would work well alongside reading I Spy with my little eye… include:
What are your favourite children’s books with holes? Of course there’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but we also like There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, illustrated by Pam Adams. For a long time M’s favourite book was Where’s that monkey? by Dan Crisp where the holes disguise what is actually on the following page. I’d love to have some more suggestions though of course!
And on a technical note, can any of you recommend something for cutting large-ish holes out of paper and card? I draw around saucers/bowls and cut out the circles, but is there a cutter you’d recommend instead?
Disclosure: I receive my copy of I Spy with my little eye… from the publishers. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.