Reviews for I Spy on the Farm


Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
Reprising the animal-identification game played in Gibbs' I Spy with My Little Eye (2011) and I Spy under the Sea (2012), this large, brightly illustrated picture book introduces farm animals, colors, and letters of the alphabet. The text begins, "I spy with my little eye . . . / something yellow that starts with a D." On the left-hand page, a three-inch circle frames a yellow animal's eye, and on a facing page, a two-and-a-half-inch hole reveals the animal's textured side. If those hints are too subtle--and they might be--a speech balloon carries the words "quack, quack!" A turn of the page reveals a smiling animal, who says, "I'm a DUCKLING." While the large pictures of animals show up well from a distance, the small elements seen through the holes do not. Still, the holes themselves are a playful element that will be inviting to young children singly or in small groups. Featuring tiny silhouettes of the animals and a question--"What do you spy with your little eyes?"--the final page is a satisfying conclusion. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
First we see the eye of a farm animal through a (fake) hole on the left and a glimpse of its body through a (real die-cut) hole on the right, while the text provides three clues to the creature's identity. Gibbs's digital art combines scribbly, brightly colored animals with more subdued backgrounds in clean cutout shapes. Extra tough boards and rounded corners entice preschoolers to reach out and experiment.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
This innovative "I spy with my little eye" book has no dust jacket, the boards and binding are extra tough, and the corners are slightly rounded, enticing preschoolers to reach out for it and experiment. Once inside, each two-spread sequence is geared toward success without stress. First we see the eye of a farm animal through a (fake) hole on the left and a glimpse of its body through a (real die-cut) hole on the right, while the text provides three clues. Above the die cut, "Something yellow that begins with a D," and below the hole, a word balloon appears to come from the next page: "Quack, quack!" Sure enough, a baby duck fills the following spread and confirms with another word balloon: "I'm a DUCKLING." Gibbs's expertly rendered digital art combines scribbly, brightly colored animals with more subdued backgrounds in clean cutout shapes, again helping the target audience by giving a calm visual on the first spread and an energetic payoff when the animal is revealed. Near the end of the book, we learn that the animals are all spying "YOU!" with their little eyes, which makes it nice and neat. What elevates this book from a well-executed novelty into meta-land is the final spread, on which a hole is cut all the way through the back cover board: "What can you spy with your little eye?" Whoa -- it's the whole world. lolly robinson

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #2
Gibbs brings a new guessing game (I Spy with My Little Eye, 2011; I Spy Under the Sea, 2012) to the youngest set. Colors, which are an essential part of the original I Spy children's game, are once again the focus of this clever die-cut formula. But this time Gibbs removes the factual clues and gives only animal sounds as hints instead. Farm animals, no less. Preschoolers everywhere are cheering. Each spread begins with the inevitable "I spy with my little eye…" and concludes with a colorful hint about a favorite barnyard friend. However, Gibbs does sneak in some letter recognition and phonemic play as well. The clue for the first animal reads: "something yellow that begins with a D." It is likely that the watery pond background and the speech bubble loudly proclaiming, "Quack, quack!" will be all the clues a youngster needs, but reinforcing the d sound adds a welcome level of early childhood learning. Gibbs' vibrant illustrations (the fiery rooster is particularly bold) and expressive eyes make this effort all the more fun. A format that engages, entertains and delights--for the third time in a row. Let's hope for more. (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

PreS-K--There is nothing that makes this title stand out. Die-cut holes offer hints about which animal appears on the following spread. "I spy…something white that begins with an L. Baaa, baaa!" The digital illustrations appear sketchy and careless, the background of each scene has a generic look, and the whole package has the feel of having been put together with little effort, perhaps capitalizing on the success of Gibbs's I Spy with My Little Eye (Candlewick/Templar, 2011).--Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

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