From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-- The idiosyncrasies of a wide variety of spiders are examined in this succinctly written, well-organized introduction. After opening with a summary of a Pima Indian creation myth, the text goes on to describe briefly the special physical characteristics and behavior of over two dozen species, most of which can be found in the U. S. General information on anatomy, characteristics, diet, use of spider silk, and reproduction is also presented. Large, colored-pencil drawings accompany the text on almost every page. All are clearly labeled with scientific as well as common names. Life-sized drawings of most of these spiders also appear in a two-page appendix. However, the absence of a glossary is a handicap here. Oversimplification is also a problem in the short section devoted to mating. Courting behavior is not described and females do not kill males as often as the text implies. Schnieper's Amazing Spiders (Carolrhoda, 1989) provides more in-depth information on web construction, courtship behavior, mating, and development of young. Also, its close-up color photographs are more detailed and more accurate, color-wise, than Dewey's sometimes brighter-than-nature drawings. Flaws aside, readers will find this attractive title useful. --Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-three species, in soft color-pencil drawings and an informative text describing anatomy, life cycle, and habits. While Dewey cautions that spiders are so varied in appearance and behavior that it's difficult to generalize, she provides useful guidelines: they all have eight legs and two body parts, make silk, and are carnivores. In her drawings, they are greatly enlarged to show all their fuzzy splendor, with close-ups of specialized features like the three claws the orb-weaver has on each foot to manipulate the strands of its web. Common and scientific names are included; scale is not given throughout, but a final spread shows the spiders described in their actual size. The common American garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) receives most attention; more exotic species include the Australian funnel web, South American bird-eating spider, spitting spider, black widow, and wolf spider. A handsome book that effectively conveys a sense of wonder and appreciation for diverse life forms. Index. (Nonfiction. 8-12) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.