reviews and stories about parenting with picture books

I Spy Fly Guy!


We’re out to eat—we play I Spy. We’re eating at home—we play I Spy. We’re driving—we play I Spy. We’re taking a walk—we play I Spy. We’re hanging out with family—we play I Spy, or my sister-in-law’s spin on the game: “My father owns a grocery store and in it he sells something…orange!”

Never mind that my three-year-old still doesn’t always know the difference between black and white and red and green, or that he often appears to state a color, “I spy something BLUE!” long before he actually lays eyes on an object, or that he sometimes picks an object he in fact cannot see (i.e. the roof (blue)), OR that he only ever lets me win:

“Is it that spoon?” Katy asks.


“Is it that cup?” I ask.

“YES! Yes, it is!” (No, no it wasn’t).

But Katy is just old enough to look at me and wink instead of whine.

These days, are we ever not playing I Spy?

So, when my Mom’s cousin gave my son I Spy Fly Guy (Cartwheel Books, 2009) for Christmas, we all jumped up and down a little bit, shouting, “I Spy Fly Guy! I Spy Fly Guy!”

How could she possibly have known!?

Tedd Arnold’s beginning reader chapter book is so much fun. It’s also hilarious, engaging, packed with opportunities to candidly coach comprehension, and gross. Perfect!

Although I was unfamiliar with the series until now, I’m guessing that each book begins with this prologue: “A boy had a pet fly. He named him Fly Guy. Fly Guy could say the boy’s name—Buzz!”

“Buzz!” is in a dialogue bubble spoken by Fly Guy who has just zipped out of his cozy glass jar home/cage. We can’t help but notice Buzz’s eyes bulge just as much as Fly Guy’s…and then we turn the page to Chapter 1.

It turns out that Buzz and Fly Guy’s version of I Spy is really hide-and-seek, which is ok, because we love hide-and-seek, too.

“Fly Guy hid in the garbage can. He always hid in the garbage can. He liked to eat while Buzz looked for him.”


“I spy Fly Guy!” Buzz says when he finds him.

Then Buzz hides. Fly Guy finds him. Then it’s Fly Guy’s turn to hide again.

“Where do you think he is going to hide?” I ask.

“In the garbage!” Katy, my four-year-old answers. Solid prediction, kid, and thanks to the great writing that got you there.

Sure enough, Fly Guy goes back to the garbage can.

“Just then, the garbageman came.”

The look on Will, my three-year-old son’s face, is horror. Pure, scrunched nose, squinted eyes, lips peeled back into a grimace—horror.

There. Goes. Fly Guy.

“He’s in that truck! There he goes! Oh no! What is going to happen now!?” we all yell and scream.

Chapter 2

A trip to the dump. More grossness, and “boinks” and bites from other flies, but sadly, no Fly Guy.

Chapter 3

My son makes the prediction this time—and he’s right! The fly he spies on Buzz’s hat is our very own FLY GUY!

There are a few final details awaiting resolution, but they are so funny and so much fun to read, I’ll let you find a copy and read them for yourself.

What do I Spy now? Us, reading the rest of the books in this series, very soon.

2 Responses to “I Spy Fly Guy!”

  1. alyssia2777

    My daughter loved this series when she first started reading. I actually did too! Theyre pretty funny and entertaining. The Green Wilma and Parts books are pretty cool too!


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