I’m sure we have all played the game “I spy with my little eye…” but do you remember the wonderful picture books that always seemed to be checked out of the library? The I Spy series provided hours of entertainment with simple rhyming clues and brilliant photography. As the hit book series “Where’s Waldo?” showed us, there’s a good market for books that are less about reading and more about searching.
I Spy was a collaborative effort between Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick. After seeing one of Wick’s pieces of photography, “Odds and Ends,” Marzollo (who was the editor of a kindergarten magazine published by Scholastic) asked him to do a similar poster.
This caught the eye of of editors in the Scholastic book division, and eventually the two began working on the first I Spy book in 1991. Marzollo wrote the texts based on Wick’s photography and the rest is history.
Apparently there was another book series called “I-Spy” in the 50s and 60s for brittish kids that were “spotter’s guides,” but can hardly compare. With 13 books published total from 1992 to 2003, I Spy books won numerous children’s book awards and firmly established a place in my childhood. From Treasure Hunts to Christmas, each book was awesome. Every page was whimsical and a new adventure. I loved the intricate detail in the photographs, although I always thought the rhymes were a little cheesey.
The only way to really get ahold of them was at the library because they were considerably expensive due to their hard cover backing, and even then they were only available every once in a blue moon. It wasn’t like a regular book that required reading, however, it used a lot of word play and patience. These were books that I could read more than once and still spend forever trying to get through it; every time felt like the first time. They also brought a whole new meaning to the idea of reading a book together.
Nintendo DS and Wii games have been developed based off the series.
Feel like reading I Spy? Enjoy the original.
Scholastic actually has devoted a large part of their website to games and activities related to I Spy.
Share your I Spy memories below!
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