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*****= An all-time favorite
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****The Spider and the Fly

by Mary Howitt

illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

Reviewed June 30, 2003.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2003.  36 pages.
2003 Caldecott Honor Book
Available at Sembach Library (J 821.8 HOW).

Here’s yet another classic poem that’s been turned into an exceptional picture book.  (Interestingly, it’s put out by the same publisher as last issue’s Casey at the Bat.)

“‘Will you walk into my parlor?’ said the Spider to the Fly…” the poem begins.  You would think the fly would know better, and at first she resists his invitation.  However, he flatters her lovely colors and bright eyes, and eventually she falls for his flattery.  No, there’s not a happy ending (for the fly), but, as the spider says in an afterword, “What did you expect?”  A nice moral is drawn to beware of flatterers.

The pictures are what make this such an exquisite book.  (Though it didn’t hurt that the illustrator had a good poem to work with!)  Done in black and white, they remind the reader of an old gothic horror film.  The fly is dressed as an innocent flapper girl, the spider a polished Victorian gentleman.  My son noticed several telling details when I read it to him.

Again, make a special trip to the poetry section to look for this book!

Reviews of other books by Tony DiTerlizzi:
The Field Guide
The Seeing Stone
Lucinda's Secret
The Ironwood Tree
The Wrath of Mulgarath
The Search for WondLa
A Hero for WondLa
The Story of Diva and Flea

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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