HomeJean Marzollo, author of I SPY
I SPY Spectacular

Oppenhein Toy Portfolio
Gold Award Winner, 2011

Gold Award Seal


Parents' Choice
Seal Winner, 2011





how we wrote this bookI 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.

Good luck!


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.
guaranteed to tickle kids and stump more adults.


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