The Spider and the Fly (Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi)

( 21 )

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 ...

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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.

An illustrated version of the well-known poem about a wily spider who preys on the vanity and innocence of a little fly.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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
From the Publisher
"The most charming spider you'll ever dine with!"—Henry Selick director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach

"A gleefully sinister fable that spins its tale like a great old silent film. The kind one might only see in a haunted nickelodeon. I love the beautiful, dramatic, black-and-white illustrations."—Lane Smith illustrator of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

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
School Library Journal
Most people are familiar with Howitt's poem, but DiTerlizzi's art raises this hackneyed classic to a new level. Rendered in black-and-white gouache and pencil, then reproduced in silver-and-black duotone, the paintings have a spooky quality perfectly suited to retelling this melancholy tale. Ms. Fly, with her whimsical flower umbrella and Roaring '20s attire, captures the flavor of an old-time Hollywood heroine. Her nemesis, seated on his Victorian chair, is dressed like a pasha in silk robe and slippers (six, of course) or resplendent in tails, top hat, and spats; he is clearly a dastardly fiend cloaked in splendid apparel to dazzle his victim. Wispy, transparent, ghostly shapes haunt the eerie mansion; the white print on the black pages stands out against the shadows creeping across each spread. All of these elements foreshadow the fly's untimely demise. With its tragic ending, heavy moralizing, and sophisticated artwork, this book will appeal to older children as well as to adult fans of old horror movies. This title is worth purchasing for its valuable artwork alone.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689852893
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Edition description: Repackage
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 145,096
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.24 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony DiTerlizzi

Mary Howitt was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1799. With her husband, William Howitt, she wrote more than 180 books, including the poem The Spider and the Fly: An Apologue: A New Version of an Old Story, which first appeared in The New Year’s Gift.

Tony DiTerlizzi is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator who has been creating books with Simon & Schuster for more than a decade. From his fanciful picture books like Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure, Adventure of Meno (with his wife, Angela), and The Spider & The Fly (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like Kenny and The Dragon and The Search for WondLa, Tony always imbues his stories with a rich imagination. His middle grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Holly Black), has sold millions of copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in more than thirty countries. You can visit him at DiTerlizzi.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2007

    They didn't make books like this when I was a kid.....

    ....and I wish they had! I only got to flip through it one day at B. Dalton, but it blew me away. I was fully expecting some corny, badly illustrated, wishy-washy kids' book, but this was GREAT! Not only was the illustrations FABULOUS, but the storyline was wonderful, even if a bit macabre. It was more in the line of actual old time Fairy Tales-- you know, the kind that had cautionary undertones? This is like a journey back to those kinds of tales, and it was awesome, completely awesome-- even if it's a childrens' book, I'd buy it, just to look at it and read it again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2013

    First confession:  I own two copies of the Tony DiTerlizzi illus

    First confession:  I own two copies of the Tony DiTerlizzi illustrated version of The Spider and the Fly; one I bought in 2002, and one I just bought last month.  I wouldn't let my young son "read" my 2002 version of The Spider and The Fly because I wanted to keep it pristine.  Now I will just keep the 10th Anniversary Edition to myself. 
    Pretty much everyone knows the opening lines to The Spider and The Fly, and with good reason; they are pretty amazing first lines.  The rest of the poem, although seldom quoted, is just as great.
    The Spider and the Fly was my initial introduction to Tony DiTerlizzi's artwork, and I've been a fan of his work ever since.  There is a bit of Rackham, Gorey, and Brian Froud living in his work, but the combination is pure DiTerlizzi. 
    Second confession:  I bought the original The Spider and the Fly long before I was a mom.  I wasn't even married.  I just really, really wanted the book because of the black and white, film noir illustrations.  And the fly looked very much like my younger sister, Luna, at the time (although, she does only have two arms and two legs.)
    Third confession:  For the Hallowe'en party of the library in 2006, my fellow librarian, Louise, and I did a Reader's Theater version of this book.  We pre-recorded the dialogue and acted it out in costumes for the kids at the party.  Louise was the spider.  I was the fly. 

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    Classic poem, superb illustrations.

    Classic poem, superb illustrations.

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  • Posted August 25, 2011

    The Spider and the Fly - Highly Recommended

    The Spider and the Fly is a book that contains beautiful and detailed illustrations within its pages. The black and white pictures correlate with the story about a spider who attempts to lure an innocent fly into his parlor for his own purposes. The story has a meaning behind the text, teaching the readers to stay safe when encountering a stranger. Although The Spider and the Fly has a questionable ending, the story and illustrations will not disappoint. The reader will have a fun time reading the story to his/her child while learning the important message the book sends out to its readers. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to share a well written and illustrated bedtime story with their child.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2010

    I love it!

    When I was a little kid I would sit and read this over and over again. I've always loved this kind of stuff, it reminds me of something Tim Burton might do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    Really Beautiful Illustrations

    You know the story, but DiTerlizzi brings a new dimension by using "Flapper Era" dress and the whole damsel in peril thing. Very fun. Lots of great detail and wit in the pictures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2009

    Great child's book with important message.

    This book has wonderful artwork to compliment it's well written story. The message is very clear and important on the negative effects of vanity. We love reading it to our daughter and she loves the pictures.

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    "Will You Walk Into My Palor?" Said The Spider To The Fly.

    Although written as a if a story for younger children the story of The Spider and The Fly is a metaphor to a certain type of person all people will met in life. This type of person is personified by the spider in the way he treats the fly. This short story made using a rhyming poem has beautiful black and white drawings and gives a warning while still being very entertaining.<BR/><BR/>The poem can be found free online by searching The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt if parents are concerned with its suitability for their child.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    the spiders point of view

    This book was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2003. It is appropriate for ages 5-8. I think all kids will enjoy this dark tale of how hard a spider must work to capture its prey. This book is very well written from the perspective of a spider. During the story you see how the spider weaves its web and then waits for the unsuspected fly to fall into the web. Once the fly is helpless then the spider can have its lunch! Once the spider has captured the fly the spider says, ¿with buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue-thinking only of her crested head-poor, foolish thing!¿ The author shows such creativity in the way this story is written I feel all kids will enjoy reading or having this story read to them. Mary Howitt is the original author of this story. The story is retold and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. Mary Howitt was born in 1799 in England and was linked to such famous authors as Dickens, Tennyson, and Browning. She retired in 1870 to Italy where she died in 1888. Tony DiTerlizzi is a relative newcomer to the world of children¿s literature. He is the author and illustrator of two picture books, Ted and Jimmy Zangwow¿s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure as well as the illustrator of Tony Johnston¿s Alien & Possum beginning-reader series. DiTerlizzi, Tony. The Spider and the Fly. New York: Simon & Schuster Children¿s Publishing Division, 2002.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2006

    Caldecott Honor Book: The Spider and the Fly

    This Caldecott Honor Book retells the original poem by Mary Howitt done over one hundred years ago. It is illustrated by Tony Diterlizzi. Tony¿s artwork has been featured on the popular Magic. He has also written and illustrated two books of his own. The black and white illustrations enhance this original classical tale. Has your parents ever told you to be aware of strangers? In this tale an innocent fly is charmed by a sneaky spider. The spider invites the fly into his parlor. The fly has heard all about the spider, but she still falls for him. The book says, ¿He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den. Within his little parlor- but she ne¿er came out again¿. DiTerlizzi, Tony. The Spider and the Fly. New York: Simon & Schuster. Reading level: Ages 5-8

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2003

    Renaissance of Classic Poem

    A true adaptation of a poem 100 years old. The illustarions are divine and have a delightful impact on an already classic poem. Although the illustration and story can sem frightening, there is a short epilogue that plays the moral through. Excellent read for adults and children alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    Arachnophobia!

    This book is fantastic! Creepy but masterful illustrations frame Mary Howitt's long-loved cautionary tale in verse. Morals can sometimes end up ruining a book--but not so here. It's rare to find a picture book where the moral is balanced so delicately with excellent illustrations and good verse. The whole thing plays out like those overly dramatic silent movies of old--and the effect is timeless. The spider is a true villain and the fly a hapless victim (who had plenty of warning signs so as to temper your pity). Don't look for happy endings here, but do look for humorous handling of the grisly finale. The warning is perhaps more true today than it was in Ms. Howitt's time: There are creeps in the world who will woo you with wonderful words only to wrap you in their wicked web. So take heed my dears and buy the Spider and the Fly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2002

    Gorgeous!

    What a delicious book! What a dashing villain! The pictures are amazing--the closer you look at them, the more creepy details are revealed. A book to read over and over again.

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted April 30, 2009

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    Posted November 30, 2010

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    Posted September 9, 2010

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    Posted November 9, 2011

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    Posted September 28, 2010

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