I have a small bookshelf in my room, which holds most of my manga and an assortment of other books obtained throughout my childhood (Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary books, various elementary-school must-reads). But I also have a collection of I Spy books, 8 of them to be precise.
So today, let me tell you about my love for all things I Spy.
When I was younger I would DEVOUR those books. My mom would take me to Costco (huge warehouse that sells things by the boxes) to buy groceries once in a while (we mostly went to Jewel). And one isle of tables always had books. A specific part of the book section held children’s books, and it is there that I obtained my I Spy books.
The books are pretty large, a few inches bigger than an 8x11 sheet of printing paper. They’re hardcover, but very very thin, because each book has about 36 pages. But the covers are so smooth and shiny, I just love the feeling of holding them.
Anyway, I LOVED these books. Me and my dad would spy for things together. I was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.
My favorite I Spy book was Treasure Hunt.
Not only was it a fun picture finding game, but it had a story hidden in it. Each different setting was a part of the story. You start out in town, then go to a toy store (all the while I-Spying things). The last thing you find at the store is a map! So you use the map, and the following settings are you searching for the treasure! It’s genius!
Another thing that makes I Spy books amazing is the amount of detail put into the settings. There are three types of “settings” I should mention:
1) Scattered Items: Literally just items laying around, sometimes built into things like towers or funny shapes. There are so many random items, it amazes me how they find all these things.
2) Model Scenes: Like towns for a model railway setup, these settings look like actual places, and have tiny people doing various things. The trees, buildings, mountains, water- whatever’s there is beautifully made.
3) Scattered Item Model Scenes: A mixture of 1 and 2. You’re in a place, like a room or cave, but there are tons of items scattered about.
Also, I’m totally making this up, don’t think this is a real thing they ever write about.
Moving on. Not only did I use the books, I had some computer games as well- I Spy Fantasy, and I Spy Spooky Mansion. I recently downloaded Fantasy again, and it’s tons of fun, but my favorite was Spooky Mansion (which I can’t for the life of me find online).
It was so creepy, but I just loved it. The reason? They made a lot of the settings some really strange places. For example, you had to search in a key cabinet, on a clock, behind a curtain, in a bathroom vanity… but my favorite place to look was the butterfly collection.
A lightning bolt? Three nails? How the hell am I supposed to find those on a bunch of butterflies? Oh wait, it’s I Spy, I can find anything.
In conclusion, I FUCKING LOVE I Spy. These books are so much fun not only to look at but to partake in. So if you ever find an I Spy book at your local book store, or maybe a cheap one online, I recommend getting it for fun.