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The Lady and the Spider (Reading Rainbow) Paperback – July 20, 1987

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The life of a spider, happily at home in a head of lettuce, is endangered when the gardener decides to have lettuce for lunch. A Reading Rainbow selection. Ages 6-9.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3 Soft pastel drawings complement the simple text of this serene tale of a green spider who makes its home in a lettuce patch. The spider finds shelter and food when dew gathers in the concave curls of the lettuce leaves. Drama enters when the lady who owns the garden harvests the lettuce for lunch. She discovers the spider among the leaves in the kitchen sink and is about to discard it with the trash when she suddenly takes a good, long look and marvels at its perfection and will to live. The lady returns the spider to the garden and places it on a new plant to resume its useful, busy life. The descriptions of a spider's daily life are fascinating, and the quiet mood is perfectly conveyed by the delicate, yet true-to-life illustrations. The book's message, that all life has value, is powerful, all the more so for being understated. The tale of a spider's life has been done before (Margaret B. Graham's Be Nice to Spiders Harper, 1967 and Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider Philomel, 1984) but neither are told so simply or so well. Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Series: Reading Rainbow
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (July 20, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064431525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064431521
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,572,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
Told from a spider's perspective, this story details the life and near demise of a small creature. At the last moment the lady of the story demonstrates compassion and returns the spider to the garden where he can live a long and happy life. This story is filled with rich illustrations and captivating text. Good for children 3-5 but riveting for those 5-8. The message is one we all should hear.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
Now this is a book I could identify with. This is the story of a small spider whom makes it home in a head of lettuce in a lady's garden. The story is by Faith McNulty and the art by Bob Marstall. The book explains the spider taking up residence in this wonderful green world. We find the spider eating and drinking as spiders will. Do not be put off by this as there is nothing graphic, and lets face it, it is in the nature of spiders to eat insects! All the while the lady is working daily in her garden. One day...its lunch time! The lady picks the head of lettuce which the spider has made its home. She is preparing a salad!

The pastels used by the artist are mellow, highly accurate and done in what I call a semi-realistic style. They are extremely relaxing to view. The text fits the illustrations perfectly and is very well written.

This little book has a lot going for it. First, it teaches the child compassion (the lady does not eat the spider, or scream and stomp on it as so often done, rather she returns it to her garden and another head of lettuce). The lesson as to the nature of spiders is great. These wonderful small creatures are given a bad rap by many, but this work helps clear the way about a lot of misconceptions. It teaches the children how each creature, including humans can and do fit into our ecosystem and, as I said, it teaches compassion.

I loved this story. Truth be told, when I find a spider or other critter in the house, I almost always gently capture it and return it to the wild. For me personally, the book was sort of spooky, in a good way, as the lady featured in the book looks amazingly like my wife.

This one is great not only for the small ones, but also those up to around eight years old. There is enough in the text and enough in the illustrations to keep the child's interest through many readings. This one has been kid tested, several times, and they all approve of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Randee on December 19, 2009
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
I read this book to my girls when they were young. I really love the message that one does not have to automatically kill spiders, insects or bugs. All creatures are just trying to live their lives in the great big world. When the lady in the book finds the spider in her sink with the lettuce, she very thoughtfully takes it out side and back into her garden, where it belongs. Teaches a very good lesson in compassion and thoughtfulness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 2, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A spider lives in a head of lettuce until the day the gardener decides to make a salad for lunch. Over the length of the book, the reader begins to identify with the spider, so the woman's mercy on discovering her visitor is welcome, and teaches a lesson in our connectedness to other creatures. Pastel art is comforting and quiet. (The book does discuss the spider's eating insects, in case that's not appealing to you.)
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