Book Review: I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs


I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs

Children adore books with holes to peek through.  In this book, the frog’s eye on the cover is actually a hole that carries through the book, with the background changing as the page is turned.  The entire book is an I-Spy game where a clue is given and then you can see just a bit of the next page.  My favorite aspect is that as you turn the page, you see the next creature’s eye looking at you.  The book incorporates game play, colors, and logic with great results. 

Gibbs has a real sense of style with this book.  His illustrations are big and bold, the animals bursting off of the pages with the bright colors and the large size.  While the illustrations are large, the lines stay delicate and filled with swirls. 

This is one book that will fly off of library shelves as soon as children spy it with their little eyes.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by Everyday Reading.

Book Review: Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor


Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor

Raine’s mother suddenly drags her from their home in Milwaukee to a strange place called Sparrow Road far away.  Her mother has a job as a cook at Sparrow Road, making meals for the artists who call the place home for the summer.  Not only is Raine away from home and her beloved grandfather for the first time, but Sparrow Road has rules.  No one is allowed to speak all day long, until after dinner, she is not to bother the artists, and her mother won’t let her leave the grounds.  As the days pass, Raine discovers some of the secrets of Sparrow Road but answers will be harder to find.  The biggest secret of all is why Raine and her mother came to Sparrow Road in the first place.

A delight of a novel, this book is about family, connections, and friendships.  Readers may believe at first that it is going to be about Raine discovering how to be on her own and silent in the beauty of Sparrow Road’s natural setting, but that is not the case.  Instead it is about creating new friendships, finding unexpected connections, and discovering anew those closest. 

O’Connor’s writing creates a world within Sparrow Road.  She writes with great sensory detail of both the natural setting and the strangeness of the big house where orphans used to live.  She blends the past and the future with great results, allowing Raine to wonder about the past both her own and that of Sparrow Road.  It is a beautifully written book that has a strong sense of place.

Highly recommended, this book would make a great read aloud for a classroom as it explores families, forgiveness and friendship between generations.  It is also a great summer read for older elementary children who can head for their own green space to think and wonder.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from Penguin Group.

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