Eric Carle - The Very Busy Spider

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She was very busy spinning her web... The Very Busy Spider

Oct 28, 2002 (Updated Oct 28, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Repetitive phrases, Nice Illustrations

Cons:Some Children Insist a Dog says, "Ruff, Ruff" or "Bark, Bark"

The Bottom Line: The Very Busy Spider offers a read-again tale that inspires the young reader.


As an early childhood educator, I am fond of theme based teaching and have witnessed many children benefit from it. During the month of October, teaching within my preschool is focused around a thematic* unit in which I call Bats, Cats, Spiders & Things Like That. It delights me to watch children explore the world around them. They enjoy learning about spiders, bats, cats, harvest, and other seasonal occurrences. When the subject matter is interesting and provides hands-on learning, children are inspired to explore. I adore reading with kids and like to include books that they enjoy. The Very Busy Spider is one book that repeatedly is requested during this season. This publication is written and illustrated by Eric Carle.

The Very Busy Spider
Written and Illustrated By: Eric Carle
Recommend Age Range: 3 to 6

Synopsis
The Very Busy Spider is a charming juvenile fiction tale about an industrious spider, the web she constructs, and animals that visit during the process. At the beginning of this story we see a beautifully illustrated sun and read text that tells us, “Early one morning the wind blew a spider across the field. A thin, silky thread trailed from her body. The spider landed on a fence post near a farm yard… and began to spin a web with her silky thread.”

From this point the spider is visited by a:
Horse,
Cow,
Sheep,
Goat,
Pig,
Dog,
Cat,
Duck,
Rooster,
Fly,
And an Owl.

On each double layout you see the animal on the left, and the busy spider on the right-hand page. You read the animal name, sound that it makes, and a sentiment spoken in hope of obtaining companionship from the spider. Each of the barnyard animals speaks a characteristic invitation, in attempt to distract the busy spider. The repetitive phrases above the busy spider allow children to predict the next words. This offers an added educational bonus for pre-readers.

For example:
“Moo! Moo! Said the cow. Want to eat some grass? The spider didn’t answer. She was very busy spinning her web.”

As the story progresses we witness the web take form. It is truly beautiful and children find it intriguing. Near the end of this tale the spider is visited by a rooster and a “pesty fly”. This rooster asks the spider if she wants to catch the “pesty fly”. Naturally she does just that, but thankfully neither text nor illustrations elaborate on the consumption process. The exclusion of graphic detail allows this book to remain appropriate for toddlers.

We now turn the page to see a dark, navy-blue sky with white stars. There is also an owl, the fully completed web, and the spider is asleep by the fence post corner. Clearly it is nighttime. The text provides a sentiment from the owl, and we read that the spider had fallen asleep. This particular page has inspired my youngest to create nightscapes for her self-authored books. She adores painting, and illustrations such as this are like a launching pad.

Illustrations
Throughout The Very Busy Spider there are captivating illustrations from author/illustrator Eric Carle. Every web illustration is raised with an embossed appearance and shiny, allowing children to feel the web and enjoy the glisten. This provides tactile stimulation and also makes this book a good choice for sharing with visually impaired children.

I appreciate the detail that Carle puts into every publication, and this book is no exception. He provides beautiful, full-color, collage pictures. Using paints, Eric paints over colored tissue paper with acrylic paint. The method of application varies from brushes, to fingertips, or sponges and such. Upon drying, these pieces are stored in color-coded drawers. He then cuts out shapes from the colored papers to create the scenes and characters.

The illustrations are inviting to young readers. Who can resist the almost blended in smile on the sun, or the intricate coloring within the feathers on the rooster? It is common for children to page through publications by this illustrator, merely for another look at the pictures.

Final Thoughts
The rhythmic wording soothes the listening ear and the creative illustrations mesmerize the eye. But the real test for me occurs while observing child reaction, and that is where this book easily obtains 5 stars. Even if my career didn't include working with children daily, the mom in me would still adore The Very Busy Spider!

I remember when my oldest daughter was learning to read - she is now 12. At this same period of time her class was studying spiders. If I close my eyes and think about it, I recollect the delight she expelled as she read the words within The Very Busy Spider. Oh the twinkle in her eye and the glee in her voice... it was priceless. Although this book wasn't one of the firsts that my younger daughter read, it is a favorite.

This book offers a read-again tale that inspires the young reader. Recommended for children 3 – 6 years-of-age, this tale captures attention of those in the 2 – 8 age-range. All children that I have shared this book with enjoy it. The only challenge I receive from the listening crew is that some children insist that a Dog says, "Ruff, Ruff" or "Bark, Bark" although this book states, “Woof!, Woof!” barked the dog.” We have had some interesting discussions. *smile*

I recommend The Very Busy Spider. If you adore other Eric Carle publications, this will delight also! If you’ve yet to meet this celebrated author, The Very Busy Spider is a wonderful starting point! Similar books by this author include:
- The Very Quiet Cricket
http://www.epinions.com/content_46588268164
- The Very Clumsy Click Beetle
http://www.epinions.com/content_78495059588
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
http://www.epinions.com/book-review-1C29-4B05B684-3A5A1C22-prod3

Enrichment Recommendations
Spiders:
http://www.lessonplanspage.com/ScienceArachnidsAndWebs-VsInsectsK3.htm

Art:
Spider Web
Lightly spray both sides of a spider web with enamel spray paint. Hold a piece of heavy cardstock construction paper or poster board against the wet web. The web will stick to the paper. Lay paper flat and allow to dry.

Additional Spider Related Stories:
Magic School Bus Spins a Web
Mighty Spiders
Miss Spider's Tea Party, By: David Kirk

*Definition
Thematic instruction is the organization of a curriculum around macro "themes." Thematic instruction integrates basic disciplines like reading, math, and science with the exploration of a broad subject, such as communities, rain forests, river basins, the use of energy, and so on.


Happy Reading!
2002 Lisa_J


Recommend this product? Yes

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