Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: The Spider

Publish March 31, 2015

The Spider is the latest addition in Governor General’s Award-winning author and illustrator Elise Gravel’s Disgusting Creatures series.  Easy-to-read text is paired with offbeat illustrations, providing an up close and personal look at creepy crawlers.  There is plenty of scientific information to grab beginning   reader’s attention, including tantalizing tidbits about the spider’s anatomy (since they have eight legs, spiders are not considered insects), methods of catching their prey (many spiders are masters of disguise), and prodigious silk production (used to protect their eggs and create underwater retreats). Far from being tiny terrors, Gravel’s spiders are amiable arachnids, depicted with big smiles and rousing greetings of “Hi there!”  The digitally-created cartoons offer funny one-liners that comically extend the facts presented. For example, humourously referring to her four pair of eyes, a spider primping in a bathroom mirror says, “I need a lot of eye shadow.” Or a femme fatale spider peruses a restaurant menu with one entrée, “Your Husband”, and quips, “I love romantic dinners.”  As well, the handwritten typeface is equally striking, appearing in different size fonts and in arresting shades of hot pink and red. With witty aplomb, Gravel explains why these often maligned critters are our friends, not our foes.  Three cheers for spiders and their world wide webs.

The Spider

Elise Gravel
Tundra Books
ISBN 13: 978-1-77049-661-4

Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and QuireSchool Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.

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