I-SPY BOOKS Daily Mail – 1949

Soon after the launch of the Spotterbooks, the series was taken on by The Daily Mail newspaper and relaunched, named I-Spy books for the first time. Four titles in the same landscape format and size as the Spotterbooks were issued in 1949, followed by four more in 1950, all priced 6d (half the price of the Spotterbooks). There were more pages too, between 56 and 64. Most of these titles were new, but In The Country was based on the original Spotterbook edition.

I Spy books Circus

I-Spy at the Circus

I Spy secret Codes

2 – I Spy Secret Codes

I Spy Dogs

3 – I Spy Dogs

Once again the points system was absent, but a full check list was printed at the end of the book with space to say where and when each subject had been seen. The first couple of titles had more competitions; a page was filled in and sent off, but the reader had to check in The Daily Mail to see if they were a winner.

I Spy In the country

4 – I Spy In the Country

I Spy at the Zoo animals

5 – I-Spy At The Zoo – Animals

The Daily Mail editions introduced the concept of Big Chief I-Spy, based at The Wigwam, Northcliffe House, London. You could also send off for a badge and the paper had an I-Spy column each Saturday. Curiously while this information and the offers appear in book 3, it disappeared in later books for some reason.

I Spy at the Zoo birds and reptiles

6 – I-Spy At The Zoo – Birds & Reptiles

I Spy Horses and Ponies

7 – I Spy Horses and Ponies

I Spy History

8 – I Spy History

ARTIST  • The illustrations are credited to J. Wanklyn, who seems to have been responsible for all this series. This is Joan Wanklyn (who later drew one of the News Chronicle colour series, Horses And Ponies, in 1962).

PRINTER • There is a printer credited in some of these books, James Heap, based in Stoke On Trent.
The latest start date for one being filled in I have seen is 1954 (which I think gives an idea of the year it was purchased). Sometime after this the Daily Mail gave up on the franchise, which was instead taken up by The News Chronicle newspaper who relaunched the books in the more familiar portrait format.

Some of the books shown are from the easy on the eye collection, some are from the web and quality is not great. We would appreciate better versions.


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