Everybody has a backstory, including the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Readers meet “small for his age” Itzy on his first day of “spindergarten,” when he’s eager to prove there’s nothing “Bitzy” about him. But Itzy is thwarted in all of his attempts at becoming a web-spinning, fly-catching spider (his obstacles include a girl eating curds and whey, and an old lady who likes to swallow critters of all sizes whole) until he discovers his older brother, Gutzy, trapped on a roof. Spider, meet waterspout. Krumwiede (the Psi Chronicles) does some passable spinning herself, creating a spider school culture with its own mantra (“Keep your eye on the fly”) and values (big spiders never bring mom-packed lunches to school; they catch flies on the fly). But the story never gets beyond mild-mannered in its narrative momentum or humor. And while Pizzoli’s (Number One Sam) use of color and texture is as strong as ever, his spiders look schematic and have little in common with the quirky personalities that populated his previous books. Ages 2–5. Author’s agent: Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)
Krumwiede and Pizzoli have taken the old spider finger-song and put it on steroids. The result is a wacky, hip story about gaining independence.
—The New York Times Book Review
Bright cartoon illustrations in spring colors expand the text with witty details and visual drama. Both art and story contain humor for adults as well as children, allowing for layered readings. ... An amusing take on starting school and gaining independence.
—The Horn Book
This book that combines nursery rhymes and folk songs about spiders with a first-day-of-school story about not giving up offers a little something for everyone. ... It's so much fun to see old favorites in new tales. Spidery good fun with a can-do message.
Onomatopoeia accentuates the text in a narrative that emphasizes the youngster’s own independence, perseverance, and pride in accomplishment. Itzy’s fears and growing confidence are easily identifiable for young readers.
—School Library Journal
Everybody has a backstory, including the Itsy Bitsy Spider. ... Pizzoli’s use of color and texture is as strong as ever.
Krumwiede spins a solid and entertaining backstory for the itsy bitsy protagonist, and the book cleverly and humorously incorporates various spider-themed nursery songs/ rhymes.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Greg Pizzoli provides whimsical, fun embellishment to the story.
—Midwest Book Review
K-Gr 2—Itzy is now old enough to attend spindergarten, but he wants to leave behind his nickname "Bitzy" before he enters the schoolhouse doors. The little spider is now 2mm taller than last year, and he has brand new shoes. Surely it's not even necessary to take his lunch; he's definitely big enough to catch it for himself. First of all, he needs to keep his "eye on the fly," never give up, and find the best place to spin a web. "The first step to spinning a web is to choose a good spot. Location, Location, Location!" Savvy readers will want to tap their prior knowledge of spiders from stories of Miss Muffet, the Old Lady who swallowed a fly, and a harrowing tale of a waterspout climb. This title includes them all, as images crafted with Photoshop, pastel paints, pencil, and ink feature Itzy's simply drawn, bespectacled cartoon figure in a series of adventures. Onomatopoeia accentuates the text in a narrative that emphasizes the youngster's own independence, perseverance, and pride in accomplishment. Itzy's fears and growing confidence are easily identifiable for young readers. A general purchase for all libraries.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
This book that combines nursery rhymes and folk songs about spiders with a first-day-of-school story about not giving up offers a little something for everyone. Itzy Bitzy is not fond of his nickname. In fact, he is looking forward to his first day of spindergarten just so he can reinvent himself. But his big brother, Gutzy, isn't helping. "Only spiderlings bring lunch boxes." Determined to not be Itzy Bitzy anymore, Itzy purposefully "forgets" his lunch and his raincoat. But his lunch-catching web-spinning does not go well. A girl on a tuffet scares away the first fly he spies, an old woman swallows the second (along with Itzy!), and Itzy's interrupted while making his third web by a cry for help from the waterspout. Proving his web-making prowess in more than one way, Itzy saves the day and has lunch to boot, and in the end, he doesn't feel "one bit bitsy." Pizzoli's spiders manage to convey emotion through body posture, dot eyes and line mouths. The pencil, India ink, Plaka paint and Photoshop illustrations feature cartoon details against pastel, retro-type backgrounds. While appealing, they don't quite match the tone of the text, and it can take some close looking to make out some of the details. Readers familiar with the allusions likely won't care, though, as it's so much fun to see old favorites in new tales. Spidery good fun with a can-do message. (Picture book. 4-7)