cover image I Spy Fantasy: A Book of Picture Riddles

I Spy Fantasy: A Book of Picture Riddles

Jean Marzollo, Walter Wick. Cartwheel Books, $13.99 (34pp) ISBN 978-0-590-46295-2

Were this volume the first in the I Spy series (I Spy Funhouse; I Spy Mystery) instead of the fifth, it would astonish the reader with its ingenuity. Once again, rhyming riddles direct a hunt for a series of objects in each of 13 sumptuously styled photographs, and once again Wick goes to extraordinary lengths to achieve just the right look. For example, in creating the set for a photo of an elaborate sand castle under attack by armored knights, he used two tons of sand, compressed it in a frame, then carved out the castle. In another noteworthy spread, titled ``Blast Off,'' kitchen gadgets are arranged to construct a space station complete with launch pad; eerily diffused lighting seals the otherworldly effect. Aside from one truly magical shot (of a spinning Saturn made up of plastic toys) the volume goes no further than its remarkable predecessors-then again, maybe it need not. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)