I am very grateful that my sons Dan Marzollo and Dave Marzollo help me with the I SPY books. They did a terrific job on this book written to celebrate I SPY's 20th Anniversary.
Dan and Dave created new, original riddles based on the thousands of objects found in the eight classic I Spy books. They discovered interesting new objects to call for within the traditional I Spy rhythm and rhyme pattern. “We always try to avoid calling for the same thing twice,” says Dan. “If we have to call for it again, we describe it in a different way.”
“For example," explains Dave, "instead of calling for a fire truck, we might call for something with six wheels or a ladder. That way we can keep the I Spy game as fresh and fun as the first I Spy book was twenty years ago."
Twenty years ago Dan and Dave were teenagers. I remember being amazed that they thought I SPY was cool enough to take as a gift to birthday parties. "You might not think a crowd of teenagers would gather around a children's book, but sure enough with I SPY that's what happened again and again," says Dave. "Walter Wick's photos amazed everyone, and we all loved playing the game."
I go over Dan and Dave's riddles carefully. I am very pleased and proud that they understand that even if I SPY appeals to everyone, it is written for kindergartners. Aiming for kindergarten was natural for me when I wrote the first I SPY book. (For more information about that book, please click here). At that time I was editor of Scholastic's kindergarten magazine, Let's Find Out.
Kindergartners are excellent at finding concrete, familiar objects, and so are older people. Thus, young and old can play I SPY together, and sometime young kids actually find things before their older siblings, parents and grandparents.
Writing for kindergartners doesn't mean making I SPY easy. It just means that what you call for is something a kindergartner can understand or easily learn. For example, in I SPY SPECTACULAR you are asked to find “four yellow tines.” What’s a tine? All you need is a fork to explain that word to a child. Because a "tine" is concrete and familiar, the child now learns an interesting new word.
Beware: one of the hardest things to find in I SPY SPECTACULAR is a nail. Whether you're a five-year-old, a fifteen-year-old, or a fifty-year-old, you might want to prepare to spend some time on that one. Hint: when you find it, you'll find that Walter Wick very cleverly hid it right in plain sight.
In a typically detail-rich scene, photographed from Wick's meticulously
crafted sets, flowers and potted plants are illuminated through a
rain-washed window ("I spy a shovel, a bottle, a bee, / A nail,
a donkey, a wooden tee"). In a seaside town, a train
ornamented with a golden seahorse arrives at the station,
people ride past on motorbikes, and a sign advertises
a "Lighthouse Benefit Concert." A fine look back at
a beloved series; endnotes offer additional background
about the collaborators. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
No one does "search and find" with more flair than author
Jean Marzollo and illustrator Walter Wick.
Consider I SPY SPECTACULAR -
guaranteed to tickle kids and stump more adults.