cover image A Spider Named Itsy

A Spider Named Itsy

Steve Light. Candlewick, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-2529-7

Decked out in spats, a jaunty bowler hat, and a bright green umbrella, Itsy Bitsy is an indubitably dapper but moodily solitary arachnid. When a falling branch takes out the spider’s web, Itsy sets its sights on a more protected location under the gutter of a nearby house, reached by a wobbly, Seussian-looking waterspout. A rhinoceros beetle, a ladybug and baby, and an elegantly antennae’d cricket musician are also on their way up, and after Itsy graciously provides them roadside assistance, the spider becomes their traveling companion as a storm looms overhead. Boldly outlined rain torrents inevitably wash everyone back down to the ground, but the group is only momentarily deterred: “Sun comes out,// dries the rain// Time to climb the spout again.” What’s more, the bugs return Itsy’s kindness by celebrating a “new web home,/ newfound friends.” Presented alongside minimal, rhythmic text, pen and ink and watercolor art by Light (Concrete: From the Ground Up) is a comically elegant, unalloyed treat. The source-material nursery rhyme concludes. Ages 3–5. Agency: Wernick & Pratt. (Sept.)