Spider Boy

( 12 )

Overview

Humorous story about a boy's adjustment to new surroundings and kids in a new school. Packed with fascinating facts about spiders, the story is told through journal entries and scenes of events. Contains a spider bibliography.

After moving to another state, seventh grader Bobby deals with the change by telling people at school made-up stories and then retreating into his world of pet spiders and books about spiders.

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Spider Boy

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Overview

Humorous story about a boy's adjustment to new surroundings and kids in a new school. Packed with fascinating facts about spiders, the story is told through journal entries and scenes of events. Contains a spider bibliography.

After moving to another state, seventh grader Bobby deals with the change by telling people at school made-up stories and then retreating into his world of pet spiders and books about spiders.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
Another new-kid-in-town novel, but a compelling one. Seventh-grader Bobby isn't thrilled about moving to New Paltz, New York, particularly when the local kids find out about his fascination with arachnids. He responds by spinning, well, a web of lies about himself and his family. Will he ever find a way to fit in? Maybe, but not without plenty of struggle first. The author puts Bobby into some sticky situations, like apologizing to the class for his lies-it's nice to see a character face up to his actions instead of having the way smoothed for him. Fletcher's writing is deft, particularly when he uses Bobby's "spider journal" as a way of showing the reader how his character feels.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7Bobby loves spiders and keeps a journal in which he records interesting facts about them, as well as some personal reflections. He is worried about his pet tarantula because she hasn't eaten since the family moved from Illinois to New Paltz, NY. The boy doesn't have much of an appetite himself. He doesn't fit in with the rest of the seventh graders at his new school. A group of his classmates call him "Spider Boy" and make his life difficult. The use of spiders in Bobby's journal and in the plot is a unique unifying theme of this novel. However, the character development is less successful. It takes awhile for readers to care about Bobby. The supporting characters are stereotypes (bully, understanding teacher, confident older sister). The story moves slowly and is limited in intensity until a final crisis. The resolution is predictable but upbeat. Bobby finds a niche for his unique interests, new friends with whom to play football, and even a little romance.Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN
Kirkus Reviews
In a story every bit as engaging as Fletcher's Fig Pudding (1995), and less of an emotional rollercoaster to boot, a seventh- grade arachnophile and his beloved tarantula take some time adjusting to a family move.

Between missing his old home and worrying about Thelma (the spider), who has stopped eating, Bobby feels suspended, unable to accept the change in his life long enough to unpack. His parents give him plenty of room and support, plus a huge, ferocious king baboon spider he dubs "Monk" as an early birthday present. Not until two new friends take him firmly in hand, and a bully's harassment escalates into spidercide, does Bobby snap out of it. So does Thelma, who molts and once again takes to pouncing on hapless crickets. Capable of telling wild but utterly convincing tall tales about his family at school, courageous enough to make handsome apologies later (and to face his nemesis without fear), Bobby is a beguiling character who fills his notebook with fascinating spider facts (a bibliography is appended) and trenchant observations: "The female [black widow] allows the male to mate with her. And to show her appreciation she kills him. Eats him. . . . It's lucky human girls aren't this dangerous. Or who knows—maybe they are." Creating and guiding a winning cast with a light, sure hand, Fletcher puts a fine, fresh spin on a familiar premise.

From the Publisher
"Creating and guiding a winning cast with a light, sure hand, Fletcher puts a fine, fresh spin on a familiar premise." Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547248202
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/17/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 321,254
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph Fletcher is the author of many well-received books for children, including the novels FIG PUDDING, and FLYING SOLO, and the picture books TWILIGHT COMES TWICE, GRANDPA NEVER LIES and CIRCUS SURPRISE. He lives with his family in New Hampshire.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Bobby Ballenger is the new kid in school and isn’t adjusting well. Miss Davenport, the guidance counselor, calls Bobby’s parents to the school and uses words like “closed off,” “unstable identity,” “at-risk adolescent” to describe Bobby. Discuss why Miss Davenport feels that Bobby is at-risk. How do Bobby’s teachers try to help him adjust?

2. Butch Fostick tells Bobby, “Whatever you do, don’t let Chick Hall get under your skin. He’s just testing, you know. “ (p. 34) How is Chick Hall testing Bobby? Contrast the way Bobby deals with Chick Hall at the beginning of the novel and at the end of the novel.

3. Miss Terbaldi, the English teacher, introduces the elements of a short story and gives a lecture on conflict and resolution. Identify the conflict and resolution in Spider Boy. Conflict resolution is a term used by educators in solving behavioral problems in the classroom. Discuss ways of resolving conflicts with bullies like Chick Hall. How does Chick’s father contribute to the resolution?

4. Bobby’s school adopts an honor system. Why does Mr. Niezgocki question Bobby’s honor when he reports that he saw someone cheating? Explain what Mr. Niezgocki means when he says, “You did the right thing, young man. But sometimes doing the right thing puts other people in a tough spot.” (p. 127)

5. Bobby and Chick Hall get into a fight. How might this fight be considered the climax of the novel? Bobby refuses to accept Chick’s apology, because he can’t bring himself to forgive Chick for killing Monk, his pet tarantula. Discuss the differencebetween acceptance and forgiveness.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2003

    Its a fatastic book

    This book is about a boy that likes spiders. He moves to a new school. The boy name is Bobby. There is a kid that is bulling Bobby and its Chick. He calls Bobby Spider Boy from Illinois. He has a spider named Thelma.In Bobby¿s new school he has a partner and it¿s a girl. The girls name is Lucky. Bobby likes Lucky but he doesn¿t want to tell her. Bobby doesn¿t tell his parents that he is being bullying from a kid in school. His parents felt awful b/c of that. Bobby was quiet. He unpacked his clothes slowly b/c he didn¿t want to go to the new school. Then he tells Lucky that he likes her. They became friends in the movies. A purpose is that Booby lived with spiders an always studies about them. But he doesn¿t like to be called Spider Boy from Illinois. In some parts he was worried b/c of Thelma his spider. Thelma had two other spiders he was always looking at his spider Thelma. He almost lost Thelma. B/c he had it in his hand it went in back of some boxes. He knocked some boxes down and found her again. He was so worried when he lost Thelma. I thought it was a good book. I recommend this book to everyone. The genre is realistic fiction. The mood goes from serious to, funny, and then to sad. It was a good book for me and it would be a good for you to.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2003

    A Review

    I loved this book. It was not only informational about spiders but it deals with problems that younger kids in grades I dunno say...3rd and 4th and relate to, like being picked on and understanding people with differnt colored skin. Belive it or not I was lucky enough to be invited to a last meeting ceromony of a Literacy Lab program called Smart Step Literacy Lab Program and Ralph Fletcher was there! His favorite animals are---SPIDERS. And he is verry funny and nice.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Wow spiders are pretty cool

    Awsome and educational .

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    Very touching

    It is a very good book by Ralph Flecher

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Meeting rock

    Meeting rock

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2008

    a spider book

    this book is about a boy who loves spiders and but does not like being called spider boy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2003

    Review

    I actually met Ralph J. Fletcher today, his books may not be appealing but they are creative and Ralph is one of the nicest guys iv'e ever met!His favorite animals are guess....SPIDERS!I read some of his picture books and poetry books and I dont think ive ever met a better peot than him! Me and him talked for hours. How did I met Raplh Fletcher? Well he was a guest speaker at a reading 'workshop' called a Smart Step Literacy Lab and today was the last meeting and my teacher is in it(im in 6th grade and i'm a guy named Levi)And the guy who started the lieteracy lab invited me to talk about books. Ralph Fletcher has meet many authors like my all time favortie author HAN NOLAN!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2000

    Its Awesme!

    Hi, I loved this book so much! It was ver Interesting 2 read and i no that u would love 2 read it 2! Its about a crazy for spiders boy. I am not gonna tell u about cause u need 2 read it ! C ya!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Omg

    If you think this is a good book read flyin solo by ralgh fletcher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Duuuuuuuu

    Duuuduuuduuuduuuuuuuuduuuuu hehehehehe hah uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmm aha

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Paris Love

    The black haired boy is a jerk

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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