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Up, Up, and Away Hardcover – July 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—This book describes the life cycle of the black-and-yellow Argiope aurantia (a type of garden spider). After a mother spider lays her eggs, the spiderlings hatch inside the egg sac and wait for spring to chew a hole and emerge into the sunlight. Seeking a permanent home, one young female "spins out silken thread into the breeze" and floats upward, ballooning gracefully on air currents, and eventually finds a safe haven where she matures, meets a mate (there is no mention of details), and lays her own eggs, beginning the cycle anew. The clear, simple text is perfectly accompanied by delicate, bright-hued watercolors. Kids who want more may enjoy the brilliant photos in Nic Bishop's Spiders (Scholastic, 2007), even if they are not ready for the more in-depth text. Wadsworth and Wynne have created a sturdy framework for introducing their subject's architecturally elegant orb web.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY END
August 1, 2009 In the fall, a garden spider lays her many eggs and encases them in a sac of silk. In the spring, the young spiders emerge. The narrative follows a particular spiderling as she searches for food, avoids predators, and spins a silk thread that catches an air current, carrying her to a new locale, where she spins a web, eats her prey, creates her own egg sac, and dies. In the spring, the cycle begins again. Simply told with wellchosen words and phrases, the story reads aloud well. An appended page provides further information about the type of spider portrayed. Wynne uses watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil to add hue and shading to the precise ink drawings that define the spiders and their surrounding. The illustrations vary in tone from pastoral landscapes that set the scene to close-ups of dramatic escapes from predators that look monstrously large from the spider s point of view. A well-crafted nonfiction picture book. --Booklist
July 1, 2009 A mother spider lays her eggs and wraps them 'round and round with her strong silk thread.' Detailed illustrations and bold language make this tale of birth and death, autumn and spring, fresh, exciting, sensational as life. A great update for elementary school libraries and classrooms. --ForeWord Magazine
June 1, 2009 'When the warm winds blow' in spring, a host of tiny garden spiderlings clamber out of the silken sac that protected them over the winter, and one eluding hungry predators that include her own brothers and sisters spins a long strand that carries her away on the breeze. After a long season in her new home she spins her own egg sac, fills it and then dies 'as mother spiders do every year.' Wadsworth retraces this life cycle in simple, non-anthropomorphic language, and Wynne's pale, naturalistic illustrations are just as restrained and matter-of-fact. Her delicate watercolor, gouache, ink and colored-pencil images include just enough detail to focus readers' attention on what matters, from Spider's many excapes from predators to her own successful trapping of prey. Along with being good preparatory material for a shared reading of Charlotte's Web (obviously intentional, as this book is dedicated to E.B. White), this may draw budding naturalists looking for a less melodramatic alternative to Sandra Markle's Sneaky, Spinning Baby Spiders --Kirkus Reviews
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Spider is quick and escapes the long, lunging tongue of a lizard, but some of her siblings are not as lucky. PLOP! Her "eight legs thrash as she turns and jerks, until she jams to a stop on top of a rock." She didn't want to tumble off the rock and quickly spun a dragline. Her siblings are moving and spinning all around her. They were all hunting for food, but other creatures view them as a tasty snack. A bluebird swooped down, but Spider escaped, rappelling down the side of the rock to hide in a crack. Predators abound, but Spider is hungry too and will roam until she finds a place of her own to build a web. No one had to tell her what to do. Before long she will find a home and winter will be upon her before she knows it.
This was a beautiful book that not only talks about the life cycle of the spider (arachnid), but will also teach children about the food web and the who-eats-who environment in nature. The story, along with the charming artwork, was fascinating and will be an excellent venture into nonfiction for the younger student. I loved the easy flow of the story and felt myself actual hoping that Spider would escape the clutches of her predators and make it to the next winter. In the back of the book is a page with more information about the Argiope aurantia, a "type of garden spider." This is a charming book that even the hard core spider hater just might enjoy!