The Spider and the Fly

by Mary Botham Howitt and Tony DiTerlizzi

Even young readers will know that things do not bode well for Fly, when Spider invites... read more

Even young readers will know that things do not bode well for Fly, when Spider invites her to “walk into my parlor.” DiTerlizzi stages his adaptation of Mary Howitt’s tale as a gothic horror film, circa Hollywood of the 1920s and ’30s. Fly is an innocent ingénue, fresh off the bus, and Spider is cast as a wealthy predator in top hat and tails. He urges Fly to indulge in his hospitality, while licking his lips in anticipation of his prey. Insect ghosts of Spider’s previous meals point to a volume of “The Joy of Cooking Bugs” in an attempt to warn Fly of Spider’s evil intentions. But oblivious Fly falls victim to her own vanity and Spider’s smooth talk. The blatant moralizing of this 19th-century cautionary tale is wonderfully offset by the humor of the grisly illustrations, which seem to glow with a silvery light, created using black and white gouache reproduced in silver and black duotone. (Ages 5-9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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