Review Detail

The Insider's Spider
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
4.0
Learning Value 
 
5.0
From the creative team that brought us Amphibian Acrobats and Superlative Birds, we now have this poetic treatment about every ones' favorite... arachnids! There are fifteen poems different categories, each of which combines an informational component (such as "On the prowl") with several short poems relating to it. This is followed by a glossary of scientific terms, a few notes on poetic forms, and a list of the spiders depicted in the illustrations. The book concludes with ideas for activities and resources for further study.
Good Points
While some of the poems are a bit longer, most are just a few lines. The author says she uses a lot of free verse, but has used some traditional forms such as haiku, tanka, and cinquains. There is even one fun concrete poem that looks like a spider.

The illustrations are largely in shades of brown and yellow, due to the subject matter, and placed on pages that are often solid pastels, which showcase the spiders nicely. Webs, and the occasional plant, fill the pages of some entries. The spiders are done in a fashion that is realistic, but a tiny bit cartoonish, which might help readers who are a bit squeamish about the real thing.

I'm a big fan of sharing STEM read alouds with the very youngest children in order to get them interested in all facets of science and technology. This is an excellent collection of poems to use along with Animal Ark: Celebrating our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures, National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!, and Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs by Douglas Florian
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