Great Illustrated Books

Nic Bishop Spiders

By Nic Bishop

Scholastic Nonfiction, 2007
Pages : 48
Suggested Ages: 4-8
ISBN: 9780439877565

Look closely at the cover of this book, with the glowing oversized color photo of a brown and reddish jumping spider, standing on tiptoes, gazing right at you. The details are mesmerizing, from its glossy black eyes (5 of 8 are visible; most spiders have eight, as you learn on page 15) to the hairs and barbs on its legs and pedipalps (the two short arms a spider uses to hold its prey, you'll find out on page 11). As the author and photographer Nic Bishop explains (on page 39), that male spider is actually doing a little dance to attract a mate, and maybe he's hoping she won't eat him first. The females do that sometimes. Bishop studied and photographed all of the more than a dozen types of spiders represented here, some in the wild (including the largest, the Goliath birdeater tarantula from South America), and, as he reveals in his author's note, several that he raised at home and observed for months so he could capture rare events like molting, courting, and egg-laying. You'll also discover, through his clear descriptive prose, splendorous full-page close-ups, and photo captions, how spiders catch and poison their prey, spin webs, defend themselves from enemies, and look after their young.

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If you love this book, then try:

Berger, Melvin. Spinning Spiders. HarperCollins, 2003.

Bishop, Nic. Nic Bishop Frogs. Scholastic, 2008.

Cowley, Joy. Red-Eyed Tree Frog. Photos by Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 1999.

Cronin, Doreen. Diary of a Spider. HarperCollins, 2005.

Hoberman, Mary Ann. The Eensy-Weensy Spider. Little, Brown, 2000.

Jenkins, Steve. Actual Size. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Markle, Sandra. Spiders: Biggest! Littlest! Boyds Mills, 2004.

Montgomery, Sy. The Tarantula Scientist. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Murawski, Darlyne A. Spiders and Their Webs. National Geographic, 2004.

Raffi. Spider on the Floor. Crown, 1993.

Simon, Seymour. Spiders. Smithsonian/Collins, 2007.

Trapani, Iza. The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Whispering Coyote, 1993.

Tyson, Leigh Ann. An Interview with Harry the Tarantula. National Geographic, 2003.

Critics have said

While more simplistic than Seymour Simon's equally attractive Spiders (HarperCollins 2003), this title is an attention-grabber and, paired with Michael Elsohn Ross's Spiderology (Carolrhoda 2000), it might have kids poking into basements and peering into leaf litter to observe these fascinating arachnids caught in mid-skitter by Bishop's sensitive lens.
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