The Very Busy Spider

A lesser-known book by Eric Carle of Hungry Caterpillar fame, this works very well as a tactile board book for babies and toddlers.

The spider lands on a fence post near a farm and starts to spin her web.  As she does so, all the animals from the farm come up and try to convince her to do something else.  The spider doesn’t reply, however – “she was very busy spinning her web.”  Eventually, having finished her web and caught her fly, she falls asleep, leaving the owl to hoot unanswered at her.

Each animal makes the appropriate noise (“Baa! Baa!” bleated the sheep.  “Want to run in the meadow?”) so this is a good book for teaching animal sounds as well as their names.  There is minimal text on each page and what is there is repeated or in the same pattern, making it easier for young children to identify words and their meaning.  The fly appears on each page before it is finally caught, and both it and the web are embossed onto the page so that young readers can trace them with their fingers.  The web itself grows exactly as a real web does, with the key threads, the spokes and then the net being completed bit by bit.

This has been enjoyed by both the little bookworms and the youngest at 9 months is already starting to copy the noises made by the animals.  Enjoyable and educational with clear bold drawings.

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