Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Book Review: Be Nice to Spiders

I live in the Midwest.  My basement was flooded when 12" of water fell in 6 hours.  I can survive that.  What I cannot survive is the resulting infestation of mosquitos!!  I'm being mummified alive!  Reading this book gives my murderous feelings toward those, and other flying insects, a little satisfaction.

by Margaret Bloy Graham

Billy had to leave his pet spider, Helen, to a good home when he moved, and the zoo seemed like the perfect place.  Helen escaped her box soon after her surprise delivery, and quickly started eating the flies that troubled all the animals at the zoo.  She moved from cage to cage until the flies were finally under control and all the animals were content.
One day, the Keeper orders the cages cleaned of all the "unattractive" spiderwebs because the Mayor was coming.  During the cleaning of the camel cage, one of the workers spotted Helen and swatted, but missed.  Scared of being discovered again, she decided to only stay in the camel cage.  Over the next few weeks, the flies returned to the other animals' cages, but not the camel cage, thanks to Helen.  The Keeper finally learns that we should be nice to spiders because they really are useful.

Those who know me well, and sometimes the occassional complete stranger watching me scream and run away, know that the title of this book is not my creed.  However, I am a firm believer that all life should be treated with respect.  Every life has a purpose, and sometimes we have to identify the good each does in order to appreciate it.  That's where mom comes in, to answer the little one's question, "Why do we have spiders, anyway?"  To be honest, if every spider had a cute little smiley face like Helen, I would be less inclined to shiver when I see one.

Margaret Bloy Graham is more well known for her illustrations in books about Harry the Dirty Dog, which is also an enjoyable vintage book.
Enrichment Idea: Check out a book about insects and arachnids that live in your area.  I don't know what it is about looking at those pictures, but my kids love it.  Teaching them how to identify a Black Widow or Brown Recluse spider might be a good idea.  Or do you want them getting that close?  Hey, you might learn something you didn't not all spiders spin webs!

Buy It: has it in hardcover for $15.30 with flat rate shipping, or you can buy it in the used and new section of for as low as $2.50.


Hannah said...

We own Harry the Dirty Dog and it is one of Emma's favorites. I will have to check out the other one.

Amy J. said...

I love your blog ladies. My cousin Emily sent me your way and I am enjoying it already. I absolutely love your book reviews, but then again I am a children's/young adult book adict myself.

Theresa said...

Sherie, we had this book growing up!! Thanks for reminding me about it!