Reviews for Spiders


Booklist Reviews 2007 September #1
*Starred Review* Much different from the usual sweet spider story, this photo-rich picture book is packed with astonishing facts about these highly successful predators. The chatty text explains that spiders were around more than 350 million years ago, long before lions and tigers; and that today more than 38,000 types still exist and are doing just fine. Bishop, a biologist and an expert photographer (he provided the pictures for Joy Cowley's Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Booklist's 2000 Top of the List--Nonfiction title), once again uses beautiful full-color photos to bring exciting science to children. General facts are here: the difference between spiders and insects; body parts (most spiders have eight eyes, although that doesn't mean they all see particularly well); how they eat; and more. Each double-page spread includes a dramatic, brilliantly colored close-up of a spider in its natural habitat or at Bishop's home, where he raised spiders so he could easily follow their molting, courting, and egg laying. One of the first photos is of the biggest known spider, the Goliath birdeater tarantula from South America, which is as big as a page in this large-size book. Whether it's the hairs on a spider's legs that sense touch or the gruesome stuff about how spiders turn their preys' insides into soup, the details are riveting. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #2
Amazing photographs are the stars of these volumes featuring popular creepy-crawlies. The texts are informative, covering basic anatomical, behavioral, and reproductive facts about frogs and spiders at an appropriate early-elementary level. On each spread, one of the sentences is in larger, colored type, serving as both a highlight of the main ideas and a pointer to the accompanying photograph (which is captioned with additional information). The text, however, is completely overshadowed by the photographs, which are stunningly crisp, colorful, and beautifully reproduced; it is difficult to stop gazing at them long enough to read more than that highlighted sentence (though those who do will find a fascinating depth of information). A close-up of a tarantula is so sharp you can count the individual hairs, and the luminous skin of a frog will have readers reaching out to touch the page. The frogs, in particular, are irresistible, either in close-ups of their faces peering out from the pages or frozen in spectacular mid-jump photos. At the end of each book Bishop explains the extensive work involved in his nature photography, which includes trekking through swamps and woods as well as raising spiders and frogs at home. An index and glossary are appended. [Review covers these titles: "Spiders" and "Frogs"] Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 August #1
Striking close-up and highly magnified photos of a wide variety of spiders are the heart of this fascinating and versatile introduction to the order. From the opening page, pointing out that spiders predate dinosaurs but may be hunting in your very own basement, to the closing descriptions of the scientist-photographer's methods, the text and pictures both intrigue and inform the young reader or listener. The simple text covers the most important points: differentiating spiders from insects, providing a physical description and describing senses and behaviors. Varied fonts signal the most important fact or idea on a page and identify each photograph. Most photographs cover a full-page or more. The design supports the subject. Where the text does not appear directly on the illustration, page backgrounds match the vibrant colors of the spiders or their world and include a subtle web design. Most remarkable is the gate-fold composite portrait of a jumping spider's leap (and Bishop explains at the end just how he made that image). This splendid title should leap off the shelves. (index, glossary) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 November

Gr 3-5 --Dazzling full-color close-ups of over 15 arachnids--including a freeze-frame series of a jumping spider hurtling across the gap between two blades of grass--provide eye-catching visuals from cover to cover. The chatty text accompanying these spiffy shots is generic information printed on colored pages, with dominant factoids set in larger, more colorful type--e.g., "Fishing spiders rest at the water's edge with one foot on the surface." The excellent author's note is a great introduction to the minutiae of a nature cameraman at work, providing a sense of real-time research to the entire book. 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.--Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

[Page 103]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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