A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Miss Spider has found the man of her dreams -- a wise, kind, and polite young spider named Holley -- but a meddling friend thinks he's not good enough for her. So she arranges for scheming Spiderus Reeves to press his affections on Miss Spider. When Miss Spider spurns his honey-tongued advances, he is enraged. "You cannot mean," Spiderus howled, / That you're rejecting me! / Tell me this loathsome rival's name; / I'll squash him like a flea!" When Spiderus catches up with Holley, set to administer the fatal bite, Miss Spider sweeps down from the heavens to crown him with a blow from a rolling pin. Soon, wedding bells chime for Holley and Miss Spider.
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.
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