Spider's Lair (Stitch Head 4)

Spider's Lair (Stitch Head)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
February 06, 2024
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When Arabella's grandmother dies, Arabella is taken to a local orphanage against her will. Stitch Head and Ivo, a fellow creation of Mad Professor Erasmus, set out to rescue her by pretending to be newcomers at the orphanage. But in order to save their friend, they'll have to get past the creepy spider monster first! Features black-and-white gothic-inspired illustrations throughout.

Welcome to Castle Grotteskew, where Mad Professor Erasmus makes creatures out of spare parts and then casts them aside, looking to make bigger and better. Stitch Head, his first creation, has a heart of gold and is always willing to show the other monsters the ropes—and bail them out of trouble! Join Stich Head and the other occupants of the castle in this exciting series, full of adventures of an almost-lifetime!

Editor review

1 review
Reminiscent of a Tim Burton film
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Stick Head is the main character and his greatest quality is helping others. The mismatched creatures living together in a castle care for and support one another as a family of oddities. Stitch Head cleans up all of the messes that result from the doctor’s other creations so he automatically decides to help a human named Arabella escape from an orphanage. Stick Head realizes he doesn’t look completely human so he must maintain a disguise while going undercover. Ivo, a small, slender creature with one arm, will be even more difficult to hide so he pretends to be a doll. Pox, a monkey-bat, and the Creature, a huge three-armed monstrosity, want to help but hiding their appearances is impossible. The gothic illustrations accompanying the narrative artfully help readers visualize the various, unique characters.
Arabella is a curious character as she’s quite contrary and doesn’t need a reason to give someone a quick kick. She even has kicking shoes! While she’s the character who needs to be rescued, she’s not a big part of the action once the plot moves to the orphanage. Initially, Stick Head can’t find her anywhere. The behavior of the other orphans is unexpected as the plot transitions to a sort of mystery with Stitch Head trying to find an explanation. Stitch Head suspects the creepy, watchful professor can see through his disguise but the woman running the place is constantly singing a song about the wonderfulness of being an orphan. Hidden passages are found behind the orphanage walls with one of them leading to the lair of a giant spider!
Not surprisingly, the story includes levity arising from the creations, dialogue, and events. The Creature calls the orphanage the AWFULAGE with some of his loudly spoken words printed in all capital letters. Many of the chapters begin with Mad Musings from crazy Professor Erasmus Erasmus like “Science without madness is like a castle without monsters.” The song Madame Venin repeatedly sings is titled “It’s Not So Awful Being an Orphan” with lines describing a father being a bother and a mother being a nag.
What didn’t work as well:
It would be nice to know more about the creations and their origins, especially Stitch Head. The line between creations and humans isn’t clear except that the creations were made, not born. Stitch Head doesn’t need to eat, but he does in this story, and a couple of comments bring up the question of creation life spans. Stitch Head gets banged around a bit and takes some tumbles but it doesn’t seem to hurt him too badly. I may be the only one with these questions and perhaps more clarity can be gained by reading the previous three books in the series.
The final verdict:
This book is the fourth in the Stitch Head series but it can be read independently. It’s a charming story of friendship with a creative quest to bring everything together. Overall, it’s a fun read and I recommend you give it a shot.
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