Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Spider and the Fly

I bet when you saw that title you thought this was going to be another bitter post where I bring up my former boyfriend. Am I right?

Well, it's not. I shall try not to sink back into those depths again.

On account of Halloween being this week, I thought it would be a good time to recommend this book to you.

This book is The Spider and the Fly, retold and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi.  The illustrations are fabulous black and white pencil drawings with an incredible amount of detail. 

In fact, this book received a Caldecott Medal, which, in case you aren't familiar, is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published that year.

DiTerlizzi's book is based on the poem written by Mary Howitt in 1829. It was a warning to her own children about those who use sweet words to hide their not-so-sweet intentions. Kind of like the former boyfriend.

Oh sorry. I wasn't going to do that.

While I'm thinking about it though, I want to tell you about the creepy Vincent Price expressions the spider dons throughout the book.  It's really quite comical.  The spider is very proper and eloquent, while at the same time being dang creepy.

The fly is probably the cutest fly you'll ever see, as she is petite and pretty, dressed as a little flapper and carrying a parasol with three of her four dainty little arms. Since she is an insect, and we all know they have six appendages, you must know that the other two are shown as her dainty little legs with her pretty little feet in high heels.

To give you a small taste of the language in this book, here is the first page:

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there."

Because of it's language and the poetry, it's a lot of fun to read aloud.

And if that's not enough, there are enough visuals to keep you entertained for days. For example, the spider has a copy of The Joy of Cooking Bugs, which I love because I happen to own my own copy of The Joy of Cooking.

The story goes on as the poem does, a little verbal dance between the spider and the fly.  He flatters the shallow fly and finally tricks her to get close enough to catch her. As he says, he always gets his bug.

At the end of the book, the dainty little fly is all wrapped up in the spider's web, with her four hands sticking out of the tight cocoon she's wrapped in, and one of those hands is holding fast to her little purse. Her feet are crossed and poking out the bottom and she is wrapped all the way up to her bugged out, surprised little eyeballs.

I promise, you will love this book.


  1. That sounds really a creepy way:-)

  2. I think you have some unresolved issues about your old boyfriend. meybe i should bake a cake and come over we will talk. i want that book

  3. Totally off subject, but I need some emergency craft advice:

    Do you know if there's a special glue one should use when gluing pieces of craft foam together?

    I signed up to help with the Halloween party at The Midge's school and one of the activities is to make foam pumpkin frames. I bought the kits and had a few extra frames so tonight I decided to try making one using Elmer's Glue. Of course, the dang foam isn't sticking very well -- although I did manage to clue a napkin to my kitchen table... . Now, I'm worried I'm going to have 18 kids in tears by the time the craft portion of the party is over Friday.

    Really hoping you see this before Friday and can offer up some crafty advice. Thanks.

    (Told you glue and scissors were deadly weapons in my hands....)

  4. I could hear Vincent's voice while reading the snippet... not a good thing at 4 in the morning!