I SPY THANKSGIVING is a Level 1 Reader that doesn’t tell the story of the First Thanksgiving. Instead it’s an I SPY book so you have to find among other things in every picture one special Thanksgiving thing, such as a table being set, a Thanksgiving bird, an apple pie, a football jersey, a soccer ball, and a THANK you note. The boy wearing the football jersey is my son Dan long ago. In recent years he and his brother Dave (“blue striped clothes”) helped me write this book. I dedicated the book to the newborn twins of my editor Ken Geist who inspired the book and thanked Dan and Dave after the dedication.
"Why don’t you write a book about Veterans Day?" a kindergarten teacher asked me. "We get the day off but there’s no book I know of to explain why to the kids." I did some research and found out that Veterans Day is a day to honor all veterans. Memorial Day is a sadder day, to honor Americans who died in military service. Parades are common on Memorial Day but not so much on Veterans Day. How could I explain what a veteran is to young children? Well, I thought, young children like to feel safe, they like to say thank you, and they like parades. So I wrote this little 4 line chant. Maybe you could invite veterans to visit your class. The children could make a little parade for them as they chant:
November 11 is Veterans Day.
Army, Navy, Air Force - Hooray!
Veterans Day is a thank you day.
So say it again: Hip Hip Hooray!
The 6”x5” board book edition of this book (called I SPY LITTLE BOOK) is a beautiful book to read aloud to babies and toddlers. The 8”x8” paperback version (called I SPY A FUNNY FROG) is great for helping pre-K, kindergarten and first grade children read. In May 2013 I took this photo in a kindergarten classroom. The girl held up the book and read it to the class like a teacher. She had no trouble reading “chick” because the the picture was a clue. The kids on the floor could see the text so they helped her sound out “truck.” The actual teacher asked the class if anyone could find “little” on the Word Wall. This boy had no trouble doing it because it’s one of the sight words that the children had learned during the year.
I SPY A FUNNY FROG and the other 8”x8” paperback books like it are not a reading program. They are supplementary. The kids are helped to read by various clues: the pictures, the pattern of the text (“I spy” starts every page), the rhythm, the rhyme, and beginning phonics skills that they are learning. Also, memorization. The next day kids in the class may pick up this book and read it easily, having experienced it in the classroom the day before. Teachers often put two kids together to read these books so they can help each other while they play the game.
I’m happy to tell you that the 8” x 8” square paperbacks I Spy Numbers and I SPY Animals are now available in Spanish. Teachers can purchase them via the Scholastic store online.
Teachers, I would love to hear from you about how you are using them in your classroom. I’m curious to know if you use both the Spanish and the English versions together. JeanMarzollo@JeanMarzollo.com