Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"When the sky was young and the world just a dream, when the stars were still learning their names, a spider named Nobb came floating through the Air, at the end of a long, soft thread." So begins this well-crafted tale, an original creation myth. Nobb, searching for a place to lay her egg, is turned away by the inhospitable Sun, Moon and Cloud. Then Nobb gets tough. She captures a chunk from each entity and weaves them together to form a new planet, ingeniously squeezing the Cloud to form the oceans. MacDonald (Little Beaver and the Echo) finds poetry in concise, repetitive language, and explores a metaphor that young naturalists will easily grasp. Karas abandons the skittish cartoon figures of Mr. Carey's Garden (reviewed above) to experiment with thick outlines and multilayered, monochrome backgrounds in gouache and acrylic. When the opalescent Egg "hatche[s] out not just spiderlings but... all the birds-small and big-that fill the world to this day," Karas's bold shapes, which work so well in the simplest spreads, jostle one another amid a riot of color. Yet the effect is of a tinted slide under a microscope, alive with paramecium-not a bad impression of the earth's origins. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
This innovative book presents an original creation story that begins with a crafty spider who is looking for a place to put her egg sac. Emerging from the sky, the spider tries to convince the moon, the sun, and a cloud to house her egg sac, but each refuses in turn telling her to stay away. The spider takes control of the situation by spinning her web around these three celestial bodies to trap them. Taking a piece of each object, she builds the earth by wrapping her web around parts of the sun, moon, and cloud. When her children are born, they are a multitude of different creatures who will populate the earth. This whimsical story is complemented by richly hued illustrations. The simplistic lines of the illustrations are given greater depth by the illustrators use of color and implied motion. This intriguing story tells a familiar tale in a unique way that can lead children to ask questions about the world around them.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3MacDonald's original creation story, using elements (style, characters, theme) familiar to the genre, is a fine achievement. "When the sky was young and the world just a dream," Nobb the spider floats through the air looking for a place to set her egg. The Moon refuses her, fearing the spider's "tiny sharp fangs." The Sun shudders at her "sticky white thread." The Cloud rejects those "eight itchy legs." Nobb weaves a net, catches, and slices off a small piece of each of them in turn to make Fire, Water, and Earth-a firm home for her egg, from which all the creatures of the world hatched. From that day to this, Nobb resides with her friend the Air, "suspended halfway between the land and the sea and the stars." This simple tale of maternal creativity is enhanced by strong acrylic and gouache paintings. The broad outlines defining Nobb, Sun, and Moon are offset by swirled backgrounds and fine spider thread. Karas's palette balances delicate, near-neutral hues with deep-toned, saturated color. Text and pictures combine to make an effective, understated whole. Nobb is not quite Stellaluna, but her story could help forestall arachniphobia.Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Simple, lyrical words and bold, elemental paintings tell an original creation story about a tiny spider who makes the world. Neither the Sun nor the Moon nor the Cloud will give Nobb a place to lay her egg, so she catches them in turn in a net she weaves across the sky, and she slices off a piece of each one of them. From those pieces she makes the Earth with Fire and Water. She lays her egg, and all the fish, beasts, birds, and other beings hatch out to fill the world. The story has an easy rhythm for reading aloud, with satisfying reversals in the echoing text. Nobb is a very physical spider with a long, soft, sticky thread and tiny, sharp fangs and eight itchy legs. She is also patient and wise. What's great in words and pictures is the combination of mythical power and a childlike hero, one small determined creature that makes a home in the immensity of space.
"When the sky was young and the world just a dream . . . a spider named Nobb came floating through the air" looking for a safe haven for her ripening egg. Turned away by the moon, the sun, and a cloud, she stretches a web across the sky and catches them, biting off a little piece of each and wrapping it in sticky thread. Then clever Nobb creates "the Earth with the Fire inside it," by wrapping the piece of moon round and round the piece of sun. She lays her egg between two mountains and out come not only spiderlings, but all the beings that "fill the world to this day."
MacDonald (Let's Make a Noise, 1992, etc.) offers an original and well-paced creation myth, simply and beautifully illustrated with Karas's unusually bold spreads in acrylic and gouache, featuring wide expanses of sky, silvery gray around the moon, a rich deep red near the sun, and cool watery green around the cloudall webbed over with the fine white lines of Nobb's sticky thread. Most of the pictures are serenely simple, which makes the teeming life bursting from the egg all the more magnificent. A generous work, in which text and artwork are fully bound to one another.