HomeJean Marzollo, author of I SPY









I wrote this book to honor schools, school children and school teachers. I get sick and tired of politicians saying how bad teachers are. In all my years of visiting elementary schools around the country, I only met one teacher I disliked. I find teachers to be loving, inventive, brave, enduring, and fun.

So, when I wrote this book, I had fun. I wanted the beginning and end pictures to be about the symbols we use to write about our world: letters and numbers. Walter Wick did a phenomenal job on these pages. The pictures are not only beautiful, but they inspire kids to create their own projects. I am happiest when I SPY does that. Every picture in this book suggests a creative project that kids can do at home or at school.

"Chalkboard Fun" on pages 10-11 took a lot of time to plan. But it was worth it, and it was fun to plan. I love "Patterns and Paint" on pages 14-15. Most of all, I treasure the Balloon Popper machine that Walter Wick invented on pages 16-17. He got it to work! We discussed at length what the little chalkboard should say. We finally decided to show how many times this machine failed so that kids could understand that the scientific process of building a machine requires patience.

On pages 18-19 you see "Old-fashioned School." What can you find around your home that is old-fashioned? And what historical story does it tell? I sent Walter the little book you see at the bottom of page 18. It was written by Helen Kier Simpson, my Vermont grandfather's second wife. She was from Scotland so my aunts called her Jean after a song called "Jean of Aberdeen." I was named for her. That's my story. What's yours?

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Publishers Weekly Bestsellers List
American Bookseller Pick of the Lists
New York Public Library Best Books of 1995

“Fans of the elegantly energetic “I SPY” picture-puzzle series may wonder how Wick could top the lavish sets he created for “I SPY FUNHOUSE” and “I SPY MYSTERY”. Here, however, he and Marzollo surpass their previous achievements-by reversing direction. While they stick to the same formula, this time they eschew special effects and razzle-dazzle compositions in favor of sunny spreads showcasing, for the most part, common items … By stressing the value of everyday objects, this ingenious volume will encourage readers to look closely at not just the pictures, but at their own surroundings.”

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