Reviews for Miss Spider's ABC


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 December 1998
Ages 4^-8. That popular, iridescent arachnid, Miss Spider, is back for her fourth outing. This time, instead of poetry, the format is an ABC book featuring mostly bugs, with a few other garden denizens, including a hummingbird and an earthworm. Miss Spider herself appears at the end, when it turns out that all the creatures have been preparing for a surprise party to celebrate her birthday. Going back through the book brings added delights. Children will be able to find the signs of the surprise to come, such as party hats and presents. Kirk once again uses his signature style--intense colors ingeniously painted with shiny reflections, backlighting, and varying degrees of focus, giving his pictures the luminescence of a video. Most libraries will want multiples. ((Reviewed December 1, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1999
Insects, from ants and bumblebees to yellowjackets and zebra butterflies, are all preparing a surprise party--but for whom? For Miss Spider, of course. Kirk's text here is simpler and far less forced than his earlier Miss Spider adventures, while his oil paintings, color-saturated close-ups of bugs from [cf2]A[cf1] to [cf2]Z[cf1], retain the same gaudy, garish appeal. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Library Talk Reviews 1999 March
Kirk utilizes the same style and layout as earlier Miss Spider books for his most recent title. Designing the books much wider than they are tall, allows for very broad two-page illustrations. Using very short sentences, Kirk tells the story of small creatures preparing to surprise Miss Spider for her birthday. Each letter of the alphabet emphasizes a creature or a bit of surrounding foliage. As often happens in alphabet books, the attempt to include every letter produces a text which includes many words that are beyond the vocabulary of the intended audience. For example, "Fireflies fandango." However, the vibrant, oil paint illustrations provide much-needed explanations. The book is most effective as a read-aloud, with explanations of challenging vocabulary included. This is optional as an alphabet book, but necessary for Miss Spider fans. Optional Purchase. Christina Dorr, Library Media Specialist, Whitehall (Ohio) City Schools © 1999 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1998 October #1
Celebration is de rigueur among Miss Spider's friends, and this ebullient primer shows party preparations in progress from A to Z: "Bumblebees blow balloons./ Caterpillars circle/ dragonfly decorations." All sorts of insects assist, from moths whose white- and black-spotted wings resemble velvety floor-length capes to termites who tote colorful wrapped presents in their mandibles. At the end of the sequence, Miss Spider floats in on the back of a striped Zebra butterfly and receives a welcoming shout of "Happy Birthday!" from the buggy assembly. Kirk (Miss Spider's New Car) sets the activity in a flowery garden and a hornets' nest; he substitutes gently waving antennae for paper streamers in the closing scene. His dew-bright oil paintings glow with the fluorescent yellow-green of fandango-ing fireflies, shades of backlit midnight-blue and lush lavender-rose hues. Each oversize letter of the alphabet appears near the text, so that readers have an easy reference point as they scan the vivid artwork. Devotees will detect their returning favorites: Holley hides among the "smiling spiders" taking shelter beneath the red roses, and May and Ike greet the termites beside the "very vivid violets." Kirk's witty rhymes and the ever polite Miss Spider's hostessing talents are absent this time around, but the juiced-up, color-saturated illustrations are thrilling all the same. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 December
PreS-Gr 1-Kirk turns his vibrant oil paints to a celebration of letters and bugs. Brightly colored insects work their way through the alphabet as they prepare a surprise birthday party for Miss Spider. Vocabulary such as "fireflies fandango" and "owlflies ogle" makes this offering less of a concept book or easy reader and more of an appreciation of the alphabet. The story will work one-on-one or in group settings with an adult to explain the more difficult phrases. The neon-bright, almost three-dimensional illustrations are detailed but not too cluttered. The text complements the paintings as the partygoers await the guest of honor, who arrives riding a zebra butterfly. Appealing to a younger audience than Miss Spider's Tea Party (1994) and much gentler than Miss Spider's Wedding (1995, both Scholastic), this book makes a child-friendly addition to the series.-Martha Link, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 1998 School Library Journal

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