Spiders!: Strange and Wonderful

illus. by Meryl Henderson. 32p. further reading. glossary. websites. Boyds Mills. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629793214.
Gr 3–6—A well-crafted book full of realistic illustrations and lively scientific text that tackles the sometimes misunderstood spider. Written in a friendly conversational style, Pringle begins by reminding readers that they are probably not alone in their arachnophobia, but fear not: "As you read these words, there is probably a spider nearby…These spiders want nothing to do with you. To them, you are a huge, dangerous monster. Your spider companions just want to go on with their quiet, amazing lives." This is followed by numerous facts about spiders, including classification, body parts, and information about their silk and webs. Most notable about the work is the harmonious relationship between text and image. A discussion on how spiders conserve their venom is accompanied by an illustration of a spider's jaw with the poison duct, fang, and venom gland identified. Some pictures are drawn to actual size, while others are larger than life. The opening page explains that the title has been reviewed by a senior scientist from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Additional information is also provided in the back for further study.
VERDICT An excellent STEM resource for school and public libraries that need to add to or update collections on spiders.

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