Along Came Spider

Overview


Can their friendship survive the fifth grade?

Spider Stevens and Trey Cooper have lived next door to each other their entire lives. Their houses are on the odd-numbered side of Maple Street, which seems just about right.
Because, well, Trey Cooper is a little odd himself.
It didn't matter when they were little kids --- you know, way back in...

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Along Came Spider

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Overview


Can their friendship survive the fifth grade?

Spider Stevens and Trey Cooper have lived next door to each other their entire lives. Their houses are on the odd-numbered side of Maple Street, which seems just about right.
Because, well, Trey Cooper is a little odd himself.
It didn't matter when they were little kids --- you know, way back in second grade. And it doesn't matter so much when they're at home on Maple Street. That's just Trey being Trey.
But it matters in the fifth grade.
The whole class thinks Trey is weird. Does that mean Spider has to turn his back on his oldest friend?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
Spider is in a tough spot. He has always sensed his friend Trey was somehow different, but now that they are in fifth grade, it is a problem. The other kids in the class want nothing to do with Trey and, in the dynamics of the classroom-based social order, this affects Spider as well. Sometimes, he feels as though he would like to ditch Trey entirely. Other times, he appreciates the unique qualities of his old friend. The author manages to flesh out the character of Trey without making him appear pitiful. Readers will gain a better understanding of the way a kid with a Spectrum Disorder thinks and acts. Also, Spider is not presented as a caricature of a perfect kid. He tries to help his friend by backing off a bit and showing Trey that he should have, and can have, more then one friend. The story offers a wonderful lesson in understanding because it allows the reader to see the world through Trey's eyes and realize that not everyone thinks in just the same way. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5

Fifth-grader Spider Stevens is athletic and friendly, causing his social star to be on the rise. His longtime friend and neighbor, Trey Cooper, is less accepted by their peers due to his odd personality. Several of the traits that Preller describes could be associated with autism spectrum disorder, but Trey's condition is never stated outright. Throughout the story, Spider tries to include Trey and be friendly with his other classmates, but it proves increasingly difficult. Other characters include a quirky school librarian ready to reach out to Trey and Ava, a smart and strong classmate. This is essentially a story of doing what is right instead of what peer pressure dictates and accepting people as they are. The fact that Trey and Ava are extremely self-aware and kindhearted is a redeeming quality, but the book could prove too uneventful for its intended audience. That's too bad because Trey is a sweet character and Preller's message is a good one.-Elizabeth Swistock, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Charlottesville, VA

Kirkus Reviews
Spider Stevens and Trey Cooper have lived next door to each other their entire lives and have been best friends throughout their years at Spiro Agnew Elementary School. Trey has a type of autism that seems to accentuate the worst traits of ADHD and OCD. He has poor self-control, peculiar habits and awkward social skills. In fifth grade, Trey's obvious eccentricities, once acceptable and even endearing, are now a liability, and Trey's peers now regard him as weird and an outcast. This puts Spider in the difficult position of having to choose whether to remain loyal to his oldest friend or to abandon him to join the ranks of the popular kids. Preller adeptly portrays the psychological and social dynamics of this age group, and Trey is realistic and sympathetic as a misfit, if not as memorable as Jack Gantos's Joey Pigza or Jerry Spinelli's David Zinkoff. The pressures Spider feels from his peers to belong and conform will resonate with middle-grade readers. (Fiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545032995
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 981,991
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James Preller

James Preller is the author of many books for young children, including the popular JIGSAW JONES series and his middle-grade novels, ALONG CAME SPIDER and JUSTIN FISHER DECLARES WAR! He lives in Delmar, New York, with his wife, Lisa; three children — Nicholas, Maggie, and Gavin; two cats; and a goldendoodle named Daisy.
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