Review Blog

Jan 08 2014

I spy pets by Edward Gibbs

cover image

Koala Books, 2013. ISBN 9781742760704.
Preschool picture book with potential.
The game 'I spy' has been popular for generations keeping children occupied on those long and boring car journeys before the advent of electronic games and DVD players. The novel idea of observing the passing countryside seems to have bypassed the current young traveller but the game is alive in this series of picture books.
Edward Gibbs has used the concept of a peephole which neatly fits over one eye of the pet featured. He uses the cut out circle to highlight a colourful part of the animal's body and makes a feature of the adjectives used to describe his clue by employing a bold font. For example 'I spy with my little eye... something with shiny scales.' This clue is also followed by a speech balloon offering another clue generally about the food the animal eats. Turn the page and lo and behold a beautifully detailed goldfish with the hole fitting perfectly over the eye to give a seamless double page spread and another speech balloon with the goldfish declaring 'I am a goldfish'.
This book will be particularly attractive to the preschool reader as they identify the pets which range from a puppy to a chameleon or tortoise and learn a little about them. Other learning opportunities spring to mind talking about direct speech and other features that could be clues for each animal.
Due to the descriptive clue I immediately felt the coloured circle and was disappointed that there was no texture. Too many feelie books given to the grandchildren obviously!
Sue Keane

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