Spider School

Overview

Snakes and snails and spiders for dinner! Kate was having a bad day. Her first morning at her new school and already her clothes have gone missing, her best friend has disappeared, and her new teacher is a comic-reading gorilla. Something is very wrong! Francesca Simon brings every child's worst nightmare to life in this funny, original story, brought to life with Tony Ross's inimitable illustrations.

Because Kate got out on the wrong side of the bed, her first day ...

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Overview

Snakes and snails and spiders for dinner! Kate was having a bad day. Her first morning at her new school and already her clothes have gone missing, her best friend has disappeared, and her new teacher is a comic-reading gorilla. Something is very wrong! Francesca Simon brings every child's worst nightmare to life in this funny, original story, brought to life with Tony Ross's inimitable illustrations.

Because Kate got out on the wrong side of the bed, her first day at a new school proves to be a real nightmare with a gorilla for a teacher and spiders for lunch.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anxious about her first day at a new school, a girl named Kate opens her eyes to an overcast, gray-green morning and grumpily gets up on the wrong side of bed. All her new clothes are missing, so she has to wear a ``dirty old skirt,'' mismatched shirt and baggy socks. She proceeds (late, of course) to a gloomy school that resembles a dungeon, and she enters a book-free classroom ruled by an ill-tempered gorilla. As for the cafeteria, the title indicates what's on the menu. Simon (The Topsy-Turvies) and Coplans (Cat and Dog) exaggerate the absurdity, lessening the tension with nutty scenarios: the gorilla-teacher, adorned in a pearl necklace, reads herself a comic-book romance called Going Ape. The author also resolves the situation with ease. Kate jumps back in bed and, when she reawakens, gets out of the right side of bed. This time she finds a sunny morning, a restored wardrobe and a welcoming elementary school. Coplans conjures a Halloweenish atmosphere with mildly creepy cartoons. Kate's nightmare school involves dazed-looking children, cobwebby hallways and bleary aqua-and-charcoal shadows; the girl knows her real school by its smiling students and the unmuddied palette. The lesson about the value of a positive attitude gains force by the mildness of its delivery and by the author and artist's dead-on aim at classic back-to-school fears. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - C. Darren Butler
Spider School is a child's going-to-school nightmare turned into a picture book. On the first day of school, Kate awakens late, and because her new clothes are missing, she must wear a dirty skirt and old, uncomfortable shoes. The school is ugly and looks like a dungeon. She can't find her classroom, while all the other children know exactly where they are going. Her teacher is a huge gorilla with a pearl necklace. The first letter of the alphabet is 'Z'. Lunch ladies serve snakes and spiders and snails. Horrified, Kate runs home and goes back to bed. When she awakens, she is able to redo the day happily, with new clothes, a nice teacher, and a "bright and cheery" classroom. The book is entertainment with a purpose; it seems to be an almost clinical attempt to relieve a child's fear of school. By exaggerating worries, they are made to seem funny, and the sting of fear is removed. Whether or not this tactic works would depend entirely upon the individual child. Watercolor illustrations, particularly of the spiders and slugs, add an additional touch of humor. Recommended.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2On the day that she is starting school, Kate does something she's never done beforeshe gets up on the wrong side of the bed. Not only is she grumpy, but she is also late. True to bad-dream form, all her new clothes are gone, and she must squeeze into last year's. Surrounded by an eerie gray aura, she and her mother run down the deserted street to her school, which looks like a dungeon festooned with spiders and snakes. The kids wander the halls in a zombielike trance. When Kate finally finds her room, she is greeted by a massive gorilla who calls her "knucklehead" and escorts her into a bare classroom where glassy-eyed children huddle. Young readers will love the gross cafeteria scene in which Kate starts a revolt. Suddenly, the palette brightens and she wakes up in her own room, cheerful and on time. After her dream, her school and teacher seem ideal, and her friend is waiting for her in the book corner. Coplans's watercolor art complements the humorous text with zany aspects of its ownthe gorilla teacher has red fingernails and a demure string of pearls around her beastly neck. The endpapers feature rows of plates brimming with ghastly delights from the nightmare lunchroom. An enjoyable story for children who have already had a positive school experiencepreschoolers may have serious qualms!Lisa S. Murphy, formerly at Dauphin County Library System, Harrisburg, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781444001457
  • Publisher: Orion Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Series: Early Reader Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Francesca Simon
Francesca Simon spent her childhood in California, and then went to Yale and Oxford Universities to study medieval history and literature. She is the author of the Horrid Henry series. Tony Ross is one of Britain's best known illustrators, with many picture books to his name, as well as line drawings for many fiction titles.
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