Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What's a sociable spider to do when no one will accept her invitations to tea? Seemingly unaware of her own predatory reputation, the eponymous arachnid is perplexed and saddened when a parade of potential guests scuttles, scampers and scurries away ``in mortal dread.'' A timely rainstorm provides the perfect opportunity for Miss Spider to prove her good intentions, however, as she lovingly nurtures a rain-soaked moth with sweets and warm brew. Good news travels quickly, and before long her web is abuzz with a full-scale tea party. ``Her friends were glad to watch her feast / Upon the floral centerpiece. / It was a great relief to see / She ate just flowers and drank just tea.'' First-time author Kirk's rhyming text, with its singsong rhythm and counting motif (two beetles are followed by three fireflies, then four bumblebees, etc.), is slack and predictable, but his illustrations are thoroughly original. The stylized paintings are flecked with a shimmery light that accentuates the bold, often garish, juxtaposition of colors and increases the whimsy of the appropriately bug-eyed cast. All ages. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
Miss Spider is such a delight, and this is a book that is sturdy enough for younger children to handle and love. Counting from 1 to 12, the tale of the insects' reluctance to come to Miss Spider's Tea Party is told. When she proves herself a friend, the insects come back to play. The artwork is wonderful, bright and whimsical. The insects are imaginative and expressive. The palette demands attention.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Ingenuous Miss Spider can't understand why insects flee in panic at her approach. Being a florivore herself, she only wants to invite them over for cakes and tea. The ironic air wafting through Kirk's rhymed tale will not be lost on young readers, and the insects in the big, brightly colored illustrations bear comically apprehensive expressions as they hastily depart. Miss Spider is depicted as a freckled, green-eyed beauty with a bulbous black-and-gold body; she and her would-be guests are seen in a slightly softened focus that sometimes sharpens to a glossy solidity reminiscent of William Joyce's figures. At last, Miss Spider is able to convince a rain-soaked moth of her good intentions, and, ``Before too long our hostess knew/Each bug who crawled or hopped or flew/And all their lovely children too.'' A sweet tale-pair it with Mary Ann Hoberman's Bugs (Viking, 1976; o.p.).-John Peters, New York Public Library
Miss Spider eagerly waits for some guests to join her at tea, but because spiders are in the habit of eating their company, no one wants to join her. Espying her web, the fireflies hightail it, the ants ignore her, the beetles dash away. Nine moths, waiting out a thundershower, prefer to get wet. But one little moth is too soaked to take wing. A guest at last! Miss Spider wines him and dines him, and then, instead of dining on him, she sends him on his way, at the same time paving the way for lots of new friends to trust her hospitality. As far as the story goes, there's one fly in the ointment. If young kids don't know that spiders catch other insects in their web to eat them, they won't know why Miss Spider is shunned, especially since she seems so nice. It's easy to forgive flaws in the story (a prosaic rhyming text) because of the fabulous art. Featuring the clarity that comes with airbrushing, these in-your-face pictures are full of eye-popping colors and almost 3-D shapes. Kirk takes artistic license and introduces spiders that are yellow, bugs that are blue, and ants the color of maraschino cherries. This would be a fun one to read to groups.