A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teaches young readers about storytelling through rhyme. The fantastical eye-popping art may inspire kids to make their own bright creations.
Celebrates the power of true love: "And when she heard his little voice/ It seemed to her somehow/ That she had known him always/ Though they'd never met 'til now."
Positive Role Models
Spiderus is pretty menacing -- and May is meddling -- but Miss Spider and Holley are gentle and loving with one another. And they're loyal, too. Miss Spider even rescues Holley when he is attacked by Spiderus, and spends days nursing him back to health.
Violence & Scariness
More scary than violent: Spiderus traps Miss Spider's beetle friends in his web, and threatens to eat Holley. His attack causes him to pass out for three days. Miss Spider saves Holley by knocking Spiderus out with a rolling pin.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some snuggling, a wedding kiss, and a lovesick Holley daydreams of Miss Spider, "Envisioning her fine assets, / Her gentle curves, her spinnerets."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Spiderus smokes; another spider is drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the language may leave little ones wondering over words like "milksop" and even the clever "co-webitate." But Kirk's vibrant, nearly 3-D oil paintings are sure to transport them, especially the golden picture of Miss Spider walking down the aisle in her spider web veil. There are some scary images, especially a dark picture of Spiderus looming over Holley, threatening to eat him -- and there is the part about a spider who has "drunk so much petunia wine/ He's hardly fit to crawl." But in the end, the book imparts a sweet message about finding true love.
Is It Any Good?
A lot of this story will play better for adults than kids. The author uses words like "co-webitate" -- and a lovesick Holley daydreams of Miss Spider, "Envisioning her fine assets, / Her gentle curves, her spinnerets." But read aloud, kids will be lulled by the rhyming poetry, even when they don't understand exactly what's going on -- and they will certainly be captivated by Kirk's nearly 3-D artwork, which transports them into Miss Spider's surreal world.
Once the menacing Spiderus Reeves is out of the picture, the story brightens considerably, and kids will likely prefer this part of the book: There are fun details about the spider wedding ("June beetles spin in pirouettes,/and clickbugs clack like castanets"), a lovely picture of a golden Miss Spider in in her spider web veil, and a certain sweetness as Miss Spider cherishes finding "the place where love abides."
Kirk's vibrant oil paintings create a glowing surreal world. His art is truly transporting, especially the golden picture of Miss Spider walking down the aisle in her spider web veil.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.