The Spider and the Fly: Mary Howittz and Tony DiTerlizzi
(Simon and Schuster, 2002)
It has taken me a ridiculously long time to buy this book, I have coveted it for about 5 years but I wasn’t sure MG would like it so I put off buying it and every time I saw it I put off buying it… Then there was a repeat of Bookaboo on that the children happened to watch featuring this book and not only did I fall even more in love with it, but they liked it too. Oh, how I wish I’d got it five years ago!
“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly
This book is sublime. The poem dates from 1829 and although the language is dated it is still completely accessible and wonderful to read aloud. I can even manage voices with this one (I’m rubbish at voices…) The poem is freely available, but this book improves on the classic with wonderfully gothic creepy imagery.
There is so much to love about this book: the art itself is beautiful, this book deserves to be on any and every bookshelf. The ‘subtle web’ which grows on each text-only page until it is complete by the end of the book; the text-only pages being reminiscent of silent film title cards; the timing of the page turns in the poem increasing the tension; the etherial ghost bugs observing the proceedings; the locations; everything in black and white…
My terrible photography does no justice to the images, but even decent photography would barely cut it. This is a book to be savoured, to snuggle up and shiver with, to soak in each little detail and to be read again, and again, and again. DG requests I read this roughly twice a day since we got it; the sinister spider and the unhappy ending fill her with glee (she’s my daughter!) MG enjoys it too but DG is my book girl at the moment, MG prefers media so will watch the Bookaboo version instead:
If you don’t already have this book, treat your family for Halloween (and the rest of the year too…) A fantastic cautionary tale in it’s perfect form. Worth every penny and more.
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