The Spider and the Fly

The Spider and the Fly

4.3 3
by Mary Howitt, Cathie Shuttleworth
     
 

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"'Will you walk into my parlor,'

said the Spider to the Fly..."

is easily one of the most recognized and quoted first lines in all of English verse. But do you have any idea how the age-old tale of the Spider and the Fly ends? Join celebrated artist Tony DiTerlizzi as he — drawing inspiration from one of his loves, the classic Hollywood horror

Overview

"'Will you walk into my parlor,'

said the Spider to the Fly..."

is easily one of the most recognized and quoted first lines in all of English verse. But do you have any idea how the age-old tale of the Spider and the Fly ends? Join celebrated artist Tony DiTerlizzi as he — drawing inspiration from one of his loves, the classic Hollywood horror movies of the 1920s and 1930s — shines a cinematic spotlight on Mary Howitt's warning, written to her own children about those who use sweet words to hide their not-so-sweet intentions.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
A recipient of a 2003 Caldecott Honor, this shimmering black-and-white masterpiece retells Mary Howitt's "cautionary tale" in a 1920s silent-film style, coupled with Tony DiTerlizzi's wry twist. As the author's familiar rhyme ominously hovers overhead, an innocent Fly -- garbed in a flapper dress, with flowered parasol -- becomes charmed by a fiendishly dapper Spider, ultimately meeting her maker with a spin of his web. As if DiTerlizzi had fashioned an old-time thriller on paper, the book charms with its silvery "sets" and striking characters, from the title page glowing with the eerie "movie opener" to shadowy scenes that subtly reveal the Spider's true motives (such as a "Joy of Cooking Bugs" book on his side table and two ghostly flies who try to warn potential victims). With each page capturing Nosferatu-like chills that will have readers amazed and enthralled, this illustrator's rendition of The Spider and the Fly is a tale to be heeded for its moral and admired for its genius. Matt Warner
Publishers Weekly
Howitt's 1829 cautionary poem of a fly's risky entanglement with her perfidious predator springs to cinematic life amid silver-sheened black-and-white illustrations by an artist well known for his work on the Magic: The Gathering trading cards. Gouache images that seem to glow in the dark deftly recall the silent film era, craftily luring in readers even before the tale's famous opener, " `Will you walk into my parlor?' said the Spider to the Fly." An exterior view of a darkened mansion, its sole light coming from an attic window, gives way to a close-up of the same window as a petite dragonfly in flapper attire (complete with fringed dress, long gloves and flower-petal parasol) peers inside at Spider's lair: a Victorian dollhouse set amid cobwebby attic treasures. With an arsenal of Vincent Price expressions, the well-heeled Spider uses food and flattery to entice his guest into staying within his walls. Some of the text appears periodically against a framed black backdrop, la silent movie captions, while a silvery web is progressively woven in the background. Finely detailed scenes foreshadow Fly's demise with subtle, Charles Addams-esque humor that, while it may escape younger readers, will tickle the Lemony Snicket set. (In one scene, previous insect victims, now ghosts with their feet hovering above the floor, hold up a copy of The Joy of Cooking Bugs, in a vain warning to Fly.) DiTerlizzi has spun a visual treat that young sophisticates and adults alike will enjoy. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The poem is more than 150 years old, but the message to children that "not everyone who talks sweetly offers sweets" is sadly truer than ever. The message in this new edition is told with spooky fun dramatized by Tony DiTerlizzi's silly but imaginative drawings, all in shades of black, white and gray. Youngsters might wonder about a picture book with no color, but black is indeed the color of Halloween. There are marvelous details to point out to children, such as the looking glass that is really a bottle cap, the curtains that are butterfly wings or the various delicacies spread out on the spider's dining room table. The 19th century language of the original poem will necessitate explanations of such phrases as "give heed" and "unto an evil counselor," but the book will be marvelous for a simple storytime and not exclusively at Halloween or a reading animated by discussion of either the message or the artwork. 2002, Simon and Schuster,
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
This illustrated version of the old poem clearly states the ``beware of strangers'' message. The rather lengthy poem describes the many ways in which the spider attempts to woo the fly into his web. The feminine fly repeatedly refuses the spider's flattery, but finally succumbs and meets her fate. The message of the poem is pointedly clear. Yet this book also offers an addendum, which parodies the main poem and presents a modern day example of why it is best not to trust strangers; it is moralistic, didactic, and unnecessary. The illustrations, too, leave much to be desired. The anthropomorphic drawings of spider and fly are unattractive and may be frightening to some children. As for the ``stranger danger'' message, the poem itself, sans these illustrations and addendum, would be a good supplement to books such as Dorothy Chlad's Strangers (Childrens, 1982) or Stan and Jan Berenstein's The Berenstein Bears Learn About Strangers (Random, 1985), each of which provides practical information about strangers and how to deal with them. Jennifer Smith, Northern Kentuky University, Highland Heights
Kirkus Starred Review
"'Will you walk into my parlor?'/said the Spider to the Fly." Howitt's 1829 cautionary poem is realized here in full cinematic fashion. Delightfully ghoulish full-bleed black-and-white spreads are rendered in gouache and pencil, and reproduced in silver-and-black duotone, resulting in images that recall the slightly fuzzy-edged figures from old black-and-white horror movies. The typeface and occasional framed text pages heighten this effect by evoking silent-movie titles. The setting is a dustily gothic attic in which DiTerlizzi's (Alien and Possum: Friends No Matter What, ) "camera" never rests, zooming in, out, up, and down in a dazzling series of perspectives as a top-hatted and bespatted spider romances a naïve flapper fly. Her protestations in the face of his overtures grow ever weaker, and despite the warnings of the ghostly figures of past victims (one brandishes a knife and fork while another points urgently at The Joy of Cooking Bugs), she goes to her inevitable doom. The illustrations embrace the primness of the poem -- the wide-eyed fly is the very picture of a bygone innocence -- but introduce a wealth of detail that adds a thick layer of humor. Aside from the aforementioned ghosts, evidence of the spider's predilections abounds: in his parlor, he relaxes with his feet up on a very dead ladybug stool with X's for eyes. A tongue-in-cheek "letter" from the spider follows the poem, in which he exhorts readers to "be advised that spiders are not the only hunters and bugs are not the only victims." This cautionary intrusion serves to explicate the metaphor for concretely minded readers, but the message is not likely to diminish their pleasure in the grisly doings one bit. Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Kirkus Reviews
" 'Will you walk into my parlor?' / said the Spider to the Fly." Howitt's 1829 cautionary poem is realized here in full cinematic fashion. Delightfully ghoulish full-bleed black-and-white spreads are rendered in gouache and pencil, and reproduced in silver-and-black duotone, resulting in images that recall the slightly fuzzy-edged figures from old black-and-white horror movies. The typeface and occasional framed text pages heighten this effect by evoking silent-movie titles. The setting is a dustily gothic attic in which DiTerlizzi's (Alien and Possum: Friends No Matter What, p. 494, etc.) "camera" never rests, zooming in, out, up, and down in a dazzling series of perspectives as a top-hatted and bespatted spider romances a naïve flapper fly. Her protestations in the face of his overtures grow ever weaker, and despite the warnings of the ghostly figures of past victims (one brandishes a knife and fork while another points urgently at The Joy of Cooking Bugs), she goes to her inevitable doom. The illustrations embrace the primness of the poem-the wide-eyed fly is the very picture of a bygone innocence-but introduce a wealth of detail that adds a thick layer of humor. Aside from the aforementioned ghosts, evidence of the spider's predilections abounds: in his parlor, he relaxes with his feet up on a very dead ladybug stool with X's for eyes. A tongue-in-cheek "letter" from the spider follows the poem, in which he exhorts readers to "be advised that spiders are not the only hunters and bugs are not the only victims." This cautionary intrusion serves to explicate the metaphor for concretely minded readers, but the message is not likely to diminish their pleasure in the grisly doings one bit.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812058055
Publisher:
Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/28/1987
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
24
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Tony DiTerlizzi is the author and illustrator of Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-this-World MoonPie Adventure, as well as the Zena Sutherland Award winning Ted. In 2003, his brilliantly cinematic version of Mary Howitt's classic The Spider and The Fly received stellar reviews, earned Tony his second Zena Sutherland Award, and was honored as a Caldecott Honor Book. In addition to picturebooks, Tony's art has graced the covers of such well-known fantasy writers as J. R. R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, Peter S. Beagle, and George Bear. He has also made significant contributions to Dungeons and Dragons and Wizards of the Coast's Magic; The Gathering. Most famously, he is known as part of the dymamic duo behind the New York Times best selling serial the Spiderwick Chronicles. His first chapter book, Kenny & the Dragon was published in August 2008 and debuted as a New York Times Best Seller. He lives with his wife, Angela and their daughter in Amherst, MA Visit Tony on the world wide web at www.diterlizzi.com.

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Spider and the Fly 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Mystryrdr More than 1 year ago
OMG! Awesome illustrations! Great storyline.
ACRain More than 1 year ago
The Spider in the fly is an old poem brought to new life with the illustrations of Tony DiTerlizzi. His choice of medium gives the picture book and old black and white film quality. The picture books style also adds to the dark fairy tale style of the poem. The story does have a stranger danger moral, and while I enjoyed the not so happy conclusion to the story, it might be a book better left for child whom is a bit older. Over all an enjoying read with fantastic illustrations but might be a bit dark for too young an audience.