CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 40 . . . . June 23, 2017
Don't be fooled! This pair of books is definitely not meant for the toddler group who are just learning the letters of alphabet or how to count. The key words in the title are I Spy, with the collage letters or numbers just being the vehicles to hold the items that the text directs readers to find. Of course, the brief text does not exhaust all of the items that could be found in each collage, and so when the book has been "read", pairings of adults and children could revisit each page and create their own "I Spy" scenarios.
In the alphabet book, each letter gets its own page, and the same is true of the number book until 10 is reached, and then the double digit numbers through 20 are treated via spreads. The visuals in both books are absolutely stunning. According to promotional materials, Manuela Ancutici "searched flea markets, took apart old typewriters, bought pounds of candy, and managed to acquire an impossible variety of items to build up the letters and numbers." Among the many things used to create the themed letter or number collages are: plastic food items, flowers, seashells, candies, letters of the alphabet, beads, art supplies, toy vehicles, stamps, nesting dolls, marbles, paper money, coins, doll clothing, buttons and cards. In most cases, all of the items in a collage are shades of the same colour, and the letters or numbers are then placed against an appropriately coloured background.
And for those who just can't find something in a collage, an "answer key" is provided at the back of each book.
Offering hours of "I spy" fun, both books would make an excellent home or gift purchase, and they belong in school and public libraries as well.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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