Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween: Spider Theme (Fiction)

Spiders are often associated with Halloween.   Listed are some fun spider stories ideal for the Halloween season reading, but, of course, these picture books are fitting any time of the year.

The Spider and the Fly (ages 8-12) by Tony Diterlizzi (based on the cautionary tale by Mary Howitt)
The Spider and the FlyThere are dazzling, detailed black and white illustrations to accompany this tale written in poetic form.  It has a wonderful rhythm and rhyme that is pleasing to the ears. This book would be great for a unit on poetry.   There are true end rhymes (thin/in), internal rhymes (pantry/see), and eye rhymes (vain/again).  It includes lots of assonance and consonance.  For figurative language, there is irony, hyperbole, and personification.   Foreshadow is utilized in the pictures with ghosts of other insects and a book called the Joy of Cooking:  Insects.   The spider lures the fly in with his charm and smooth compliments.  It is the instructive tale about the importance of not being taken captive by silly, flattering words.  
Diary of a Spider (ages 4-8) by Doreen Cronin (fantasy fiction)
Diary of a SpiderIn this clever and comical book, life is seen from the perspective of a spider.  It is written in journal format using short sentences with lots of additional insights and amusements gained from the vibrant illustrations.  Fly and Worm are Spider’s best friends which results in some familiar challenges when visiting other people’s homes.  Generational differences are displayed subtly, like when grandfather has bias against 6-legged insects.   This motif is reinforced when Spider wishes people would not judge all spiders just because some of them bite.  Interspersed in the fantasy and humor are facts about spiders.  Students may be led to discuss what is factual and what is fictional as well as the use of personification in the text.  Whether you use this book for leisure or for learning, you will never look at spiders the same way after reading this diary. 
The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! Big Time! (ages 3-8) by Troy Cummings (fantasy fiction)
The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out (Big Time)Using the popular nursery rhyme, Troy Cummings tells the after-story of the spider who fell down the waterspout.  The spider feels embarrassed and discouraged.  Her lady bug friend encourages her to overcome her fears though.  As a result, the spider not only learns how to climb again, but she reaches new heights!  The comic, cartoon illustrations enhance the amusing and inspiring text.  Discuss age-appropriate challenges with your students or children and brainstorm ways to overcome them.  The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! Big Time!  is  a wonderful lesson in perseverance. 

Teaching Opportunities:
Recipe for Spider Cookies at Fun on a Dime
Learn to build your own spider at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Writing prompt at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational


  1. You are picking out some fun books! I just ordered some for Christmas for the 3 little tots whose Daddy works for us on the ranch. I'm going to share your great site with some homeschooling friends. Gosh, I wish mine were little again. Is is wierd if I start picking up books for grandchildren when neither child is even dating anyone? LOL!

  2. I love these recommendations! Great post!

  3. Great blog! Love the books. Also! I tried reaching you through the follower button, but I'm not sure the message went through... You won the "Thumb Love" giveaway!!!! Pop me an email as soon as you can with your mailing info. Yay!! (Also, if you haven't seen it yet, Jeremy Holmes's 2009 novelty book, "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," is amazing.) Have a great day!

  4. Wow! It was so fun to see these comments! Thanks everyone. @ Karin, thank you so much for sharing my site with your homeschool group. I really want this to be a site they can use. @ Mary Elizabeth, I am glad you like my recommendation. Thanks. @ Where the Books, I did not notice a message from you. I'll contact you though.


5 Fabulous African Fiction Picture Books

The Herd Boy Niki Daly, author and illustrator Malusi is a herd boy in a mountainous region of South Africa. He wakes up early each...