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Sunday, 8 January 2017

I-Spy: Every Vehicle on the Road

Every Vehicle on the Road 
Publisher: Michelin Maps and Guides 2011, created and produced by Blue Sky Publishing

I would like to see these Michelin I-spy books have a true renaissance as for me they're a must-have for pre-schoolers. They are so fun and easy to use and all titles in the range are loved by my 5 and 3 year old. Although not a fan of 'the list' himself, the 'I-spy football stadiums' title always accompanies 7 year old Alf on long car journeys too; the book is really helping build his knowledge of football clubs, their origins and the colour/ design if the kits. He sound like a mini social historian in the back of the car telling me about teams borne from working men's clubs. Many of the titles in the series contain snippets of general 
knowledge about the spot to accompany the sightings, fabulous for building young people's general knowledge and topic-based interests. 

I-spy are spotters guides, with each book containing roughly 120 pictures of things to spot and then tick off. Rare spots related to the title theme gain 50 points, with values decreasing in commonality. In I-Spy 'Every Vehicle on the Road' for example, the 50 point spots are a 'veteran car' (motor vehicles 1885-1905), and UNIMOG, whereas 5 point spots are very commonplace, including a hatchback, van and taxi. Once ticked off and the spot dated, the score can be combined to previous spot scores, with the aim of reaching 1000 points. Once 1000 points have been achieved, the adult can help the child apply for an online I-spy certificate at: Each title also has 'cut out corner' coupon which can also be collected (5 needed) in order to apply for 'the Michellin badge' (a very sought after prize in our house). 

I've found these books promote using maths (adding scores, knowing values), support vocabulary building, promote greater  recognition and understanding of the world, and are an invaluable boredom buster in the car on any journey, not just long ones. The children do tend to need their own copy of the books though, as they're small and can't easily be shared, so they squabble over who gets 'to tick' or who saw the spot and should claim the points etc. We've bought multiple titles of popular books in the series, such as 'In the Garden' and 'At the Seaside'. 

These spotter guides are fun, bright, compact and have quite a cult hip status in the UK, or is it just me? They were popular in the 1980s I believe, and were reissued at the millennium. They also help children learn how to categorise and differentiate. Put your child on a diet of Michellin I-Spy books at an early age, and I'm convinced that they'll be fantastic at pub quizzes when they're older; a very worthy and useful social skill. 

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