cover image The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! (Big Time!)

The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! (Big Time!)

Troy Cummings. Random, 19.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-96582-1

Cummings’s debut children’s book uses humorous illustrations and clever text to envision the emotional aftermath of the events of the familiar nursery rhyme. After getting washed out of the waterspout, the timid brown spider—with her grade-school hairdo and striped scarf—vows, “I’m sticking to the ground from now on,” and tells her ladybug friend, Polly, “I’m all washed up!” Eensy is embarrassed that her mishap has even made it onto the Web (“Slippery Spout Spooks Spider” reads a headline), but with Polly’s encouragement, she conquers her fear of heights and regains her spunk by starting small and climbing higher and higher. Cummings provides a satisfying red herring of an “ending” as Eensy eventually works her way up to climbing a huge crane whose wrecking ball announces “The End,” to which she protests, “Wait! It’s not over yet! I can climb way higher than that!” and proceeds to demonstrate just that over several more pages. The spider’s delight in her accomplishments and her steady climb to success provide a gentle template for small readers with their own fears to overcome. Ages 3–5. (May)