Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs

Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 01, 2021
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Meet spiders that spit silk, roll like wheels, scuba dive, hide under trap doors, strum tunes, and so much more. Watch as they find mates, find prey…or find mates that become prey!

Award-winning poet Leslie Bulion and illustrator Robert Meganck team up again for this clutter (a collective noun for spiders) of short poems and humorously accurate illustrations celebrating the amazing attributes of Araneae.

The book is also packed with helpful sidebars, call-outs, and backmatter, including a glossary of science terms, a description of the poetic forms, a list of common and scientific names, a spider-hunting adventure how-to, resources for further study, and a relative-size chart. A feast for science and animal fans!

Editor review

1 review
The Insider's Spider
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
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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