Exceptional nonfiction for children from two of the most trusted names in science education: Seymour Simon and the Smithsonian Institution.

An introduction to the physical characteristics, behavior, and life cycle of different kinds of spiders.

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Exceptional nonfiction for children from two of the most trusted names in science education: Seymour Simon and the Smithsonian Institution.

An introduction to the physical characteristics, behavior, and life cycle of different kinds of spiders.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
From the front cover to the last page, Simon uses absolutely stunning visuals as he presents information about spiders in clearly-written, understandable prose without talking down to his reader. Each image appears to align with the information on its page; however, the lack of captions is a significant flaw in this otherwise excellent nonfiction book. Simon covers general and specific physical characteristics, as well as behavioral traits of many spiders, often with a sense of awe: “Jumping spiders can leap …40 times the length of its own body,” the equivalent of a person jumping the length of two basketball courts and sinking the ball! His use of relative examples like this helps make the information accessible. Scientific terms and their meanings are woven into the text to facilitate understanding. Simon wisely builds on the power of the book’s images to draw the reader into the text. Those who take the time to read as well as to look will be richly rewarded. This Smithsonian/Collins edition is a slightly-repackaged version of the 2003 HarperCollins edition. There are small changes in layout, design, and size as well as more identified spiders. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6- Essentially, this is a reprint of the 2003 HarperCollins edition, under the respected aegis of the Smithsonian, with a new cover photo, a square rather then rectangular configuration, a new title page, and a less elegant but easier-to-read font. The fantastic color photos of the original edition are all here, as is Simon's crisp, informative text. Team this handsome work with Nic Bishop's simpler (but equally eye-catching) Nic Bishop Spiders (Scholastic, 2007), Margery Facklam's attractive species-specific Spiders and Their Web Sites (Little, Brown, 2001), and/or Michael Elsohn Ross's investigatory Spiderology (Carolrhoda, 2000) for a nifty look into the eye-full, leggy world of arachnids. An attention grabber.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Stunning visuals of a variety of spiders highlight this introduction. A full-page, sharp, color close-up photograph of a representative spider alternates with a page of text throughout most of the book; several are extreme close-ups, so detailed that individual hairs on the spiders' legs and bodies are visible. The smoothly written text briefly describes major physical and behavioral characteristics common to all spiders; some distinctive characteristics of about a dozen particular kinds (e.g., tarantulas, fishing spiders, funnel-weaving spiders, etc.); senses of sight and touch; web construction; hunting techniques; uses of spider silk; and life cycles. The well-organized text is succinctly written, with scientific terms defined as they appear. The lack of captions is disappointing, for not all of the creatures can be easily identified from the text. Still, Simon's book compares well with such standards as Claudia Schnieper's Amazing Spiders (Carolrhoda, 1989; o.p.) and Sandra Markle's Outside and Inside Spiders (Atheneum, 1994). Although those titles offer more detail on physiology and anatomy (both describe how spiders feed as well as how they mate), Simon does an excellent job of covering the basics. The readable text and outstanding photography will appeal both to report writers and browsers.-Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The creepy-crawly close-up photo of a hairy spider on the cover will have kids (and adults) saying "Yuck!" while they grab the book to look for more inside. As with other Simon photographic nonfiction, this presents information on spiders in easy, understandable prose. The facts are made relative-for example, "jumping spiders can leap a distance of 40 times the length of its own body, the same as if you jumped the length of two basketball courts and made a slam dunk." Examples interestingly describe the facts, e.g., "some spider silk is three times stronger than steel wire of the same thickness." This is casual nonfiction, no chapters, categories, or index, but the amazing close-up color photos make the almost conversational text captivating. A subject that both fascinates and repels at the same time, this mini-documentary will have kids spinning their own stories about the spiders they've now discovered. (Nonfiction. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060891039
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/16/2007
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 335,957
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Seymour Simon has been called "the dean of the [children's science book] field" by the New York Times. He has written more than 250 books for young readers and has received the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Lifetime Achievement Award for his lasting contribution to children's science literature, the Science Books & Films Key Award for Excellence in Science Books, the Empire State Award for excellence in literature for young people, and the Educational Paperback Association Jeremiah Ludington Award. He and his wife, Liz, live in Great Neck, New York. You can visit him online at www.seymoursimon.com, where you can read "Seymour Science Blog" and download a free four-page teacher guide to accompany this book, putting it in context with Common Core objectives. Many of Seymour's award-winning books are also available as ebooks.

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