cover image Little Miss Spider

Little Miss Spider

David Kirk. Scholastic, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-08389-8

In a smaller, simpler format, the latest book about Miss Spider takes readers back to her birth and subsequent search for her mother. This winning tale puts a new spin on the subject, for the just-hatched little Miss Spider never locates her biological mother (fans of Charlotte's Web will know why). Instead, Miss Spider adopts as her mother the green beetle, Betty, who has been assisting Miss Spider in her search all along. As the text explains, ""For finding your mother,/ There's one certain test./ You must look for the creature/ Who loves you the best."" The pictures of Betty cupping the tiny, dewy-eyed Miss Spider (with a cute oversize head) in her hands and bathing her in a walnut shell are heartwarming. In addition to a happy ending, the book offers danger and adventure: Betty narrowly saves Miss Spider from being fed to gaping-mouthed baby goldfinches. As always, Kirk's oil paintings glow with luminescent colors and, here printed on laminated pages, they closely resemble animation cells. Not only do Miss Spider fans now have a prequel, this tale will likely convert arachnophobes to arachnophiles, at least when it comes to Miss Spider. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)