The Spider and the Fly

The Spider and the Fly is a very unique book in a sea of look-alike copy cats. This is one of those children’s books that will be treasured for years to come because it is a feast for the eyes. From the moment the book begins with, “”Will you walk into my parlor,” said the Spider to the Fly,” readers are in for a hair-raising good time.

This version of The Spider and the Fly is a Caldecott Honor Book for best illustration for good reason. This is a new illustrated version of English poet Mary Howitt’s 1829 poem of the same name. Tony DiTerlizzi, author of the enormously popular Spiderwick Chronicles, illuminates this poem of old and brings it to a new generation of readers in spooky detail. He uses gouache and colored pencils in gossamer silver and gray tones.


originally wrote the poem as a cautionary tale for her children. It warns, through the characters of the spider and the fly, of what happens when innocent people are fooled into danger by shady characters. It admonishes that children should not be fooled by people who speak evil things in the guise of kindness.

DiTerlizzi uses a dark and ominous style of illustration. Children will love to find out just how much scary they can handle. DiTerlizzi illustrates with influence from horror movies of old. His retro-1930s drawings are endearing and humorous even though the tale does not have a happy ending. Parents will like this book because it warns of “stranger danger” in an entertaining way.

This version of The Spider and the Fly is destined to become a classic. It is with books such as this one, especially those including illustrations to help drive specific points home, that children can learn about danger. They can learn in an entertaining fashion through events that happen to others and, reading or listening to this scenario, can perhaps avoid a similar situation in their lives. This book and its story is worth repeating to your children over and over again, and they will want to hear it because it contains characters they can like.

The Spider and the Fly

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