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Children's LiteratureIn an interesting author's note, Murawski tells how she photographs webs by dusting them with cornstarch and even shows the reader how to do it in this fascinating book about different kinds of webs and how spiders use their silk. The text covers nine types of spiders, some representing larger families, in the over thirteen thousand species of web-making spiders. The left pages include close-up photographs of the spider within its unique and interesting web: some are formed of zigzags, others of rays, and still others are on a sort of spring that collapses at a spider's touch. In addition, scientific name, common names, body size, habitats, and food are explained. A small key shows the scale or size of the arachnid. Most of the spiders live in Central and South America, but readers can find many of these web types in their fields, yards, and basements. In addition to the cornstarch activity, the author includes five more ways spiders use spider silk. It's a compelling introduction to the topic and one to pair with Sandra Markle's Spiders and Their Websites (2001) or to challenge readers of this book with Sy Montgomery's more lengthy and difficult book, The Tarantula Scientist (2004). As a companion book, one slightly easier, see also Sandra Markle's Spiders: Biggest! Littlest! (2004). 2004, National Geographic, Ages 7 to 11.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.