The Spider's Journey
by Kate Gardener

"His web began to violently shake, and he was thrown into the air."

It is human nature to fear that which cannot be understood and, most times, to meet it head-on with violence. Often in science fiction literature, the portrayal of this primal human instinct against the brutal alien is through insectoid creatures such as in the novels Starship Troopers, Ender's Game, and Children of Time, to name a few. Gardner decides to turn this mechanic upside down to teach children an important lesson regarding nature and the benefit of such insects, namely spiders. The story is told through the perspective of a spider who is unexpectedly swept into a pail of blueberries. Upon entering a house, the spider is surprised by its surroundings but then dashes for its life when a human discovers its existence and becomes determined to kill it.

Gardner’s prose depicts the plight of the spider in a light-hearted and simple manner that will reach young readers. While the prose is both descriptive and captivating to read, the drawings have uneven amounts of color to them, which can be slightly distracting. Nonetheless, the pictures are still wonderfully drawn and full of vivid colors that will capture the eyes of a young audience. The spider looks cute (and not so scary) which effectively links it to the message of the story: Spiders are not only beautiful in their own way, they also benefit the environment. This is a book that not only utilizes a tale to teach a lesson about nature and empathy through the eyes of a spider, but it does so in a way that will reach its intended audience.

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