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The Very Busy Spider Hardcover – March 6, 1985
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Every young child should be introduced to this story, as great a classic as its predecessor, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This colorful picture book describes a spider's day. Blown onto a farmyard fence, she starts to spin a web. The other animals ask if she wants to play, but in every case "the spider didn't answer. She was very busy spinning her web." The book is touchable: elements including the strands of web are embossed on the pages and you can follow them with your fingertips. But the best thing by far is Carle's familiar, yet still breathtaking skill as an illustrator. Especially in this large 11.5-by-8.5-inch format, his cow, goat, and dog (just to mention three favorites) capture the essence of each animal in a way few artists can hope to approach. (Baby to preschool) --Richard Farr
From Publishers Weekly
Mice, a rottweiler, an arachnid and a few other assorted critters make sturdy reappearances in five board book versions of picture books. In Ellen Stoll Walsh's Mouse Paint, "three white mice on a white piece of paper" enjoy a colorful romp, while in Walsh's Mouse Count a similar gaggle narrowly escapes being served for dinner (Harcourt/Red Wagon, $6 each, 28p, ages 1-3 ISBN 0-15-200265-0; -200266-9 Sept.). Yet another mouse searches the animal kingdom for companionship?and finds an unexpected respondent?in Eric Carle's Do You Want to Be My Friend? (HarperFestival, $6.95, 32p, ages 2-6, ISBN 0-694-00709-9 Sept.). The rewards of industriousness are celebrated in a second Carle title, The Very Busy Spider; its embossed web brings a tactile dimension to his familiar collage artwork (Philomel, $9.95, 26p, ages 2-up ISBN 0-399-22919-1 Aug.). Finally, the canine in question is Alexandra Day's beloved Carl, who takes charge of a crew of toddlers in Carl Goes to Day Care (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $5.95, ages 1-3 ISBN 0-374-31145-5 Sept.).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Either way, this is a fairly cute book, though I don't think it's anywhere near as memorable as Eric Carle's other books like the Caterpillar, Cricket, Ladybug and Firefly books. It's about a [very busy] spider who lands on the scene one day, and just starts to spin its web. Many other animals come over and invite the spider to come with them and have fun, but the spider doesn't reply- it's too busy spinning its web. Finally a rooster asks the spider if it wants to come and chase flies, and by this point, the web's done. The spider doesn't need to reply to the rooster, because after it asks, a fly lands in the web. Story over.
There's no real message or moral here that I can figure out, not that it's necessary in order to enjoy the story or anything, but where The Grouchy Ladybug is about bullying and being put in your place, all The Very Busy Spider is is a spider ignoring offers by other animals because it wants to complete its web. Yeah, there could be the message of how important it is to stay focused and finish the job, but I'm sure there are a lot of parents out there who'd whine about the spider having bad manners or something. The art style is done in the standard Carle fashion, always a treat, and the spider's web is done in a special way on the paper so that it's risen from the page a bit and 'bumpy'.
I give the book on its own 3.5 stars, but this dinky version: a tiny hardcover book with regular paper pages, not being billed as that in the title and throwing off many people, reduces the score a bit. Sure it could be a good choice to take on trips, but most kids will enjoy the illustrations better if the pages are bigger. Unless your child specifies that they want THIS version, go with the old paperback or hardcovers instead.