The I Spy series is pleasing to the reader on a number of different levels: the effortless rhythm and rhyme that forms the text, the full photographs that seem to hold new things every time you look at it, and the challenge that is just hard enough without being frustrating. With all of this going on, it is no wonder that these books were scattered around every pediatrician’s, orthodontist’s, and dentist’s waiting room. It doesn’t hurt that the series is easy to pick up and put down at a moment’s notice (if the nurse calls your name, for example).
While some might argue that I Spy is not the most enriching of literature, I would counter that these books combine reading, poetry, focus, task completion, and fun. I Spy is a literary toy- supplementing the development of more useful skills, by making the intermediate steps and learning processes fun. That does not mean that I Spy belongs in the classroom, or in an academic learning environment. Classroom fun involves finding enjoyment in substantive learning materials, things that are more enriching than toys. Nevertheless, toys are important for play and development, so why not use some reading toys?