Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review: The Deadlies: Spiders on the Case by Kathryn Lasky

Published by: Scholastic
Released on:
Source: Book from publisher to review
Ages: 7-10
4 stars: A Really Fun Read
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Can the world's friendliest spiders spin a web strong enough to catch . . . a criminal?

They're sweet and friendly . . . but they just happen to be super toxic. The Deadlies are the world's most misunderstood family of spiders. Kicked out of home after home, all the Deadlies want is to settle down in a cozy web with no exterminators around.

Now they've found the perfect place - the Rare Books room at the Boston Library. The librarian isn't afraid of the Deadlies, and they have lots of lovely books to explore. But their peace is threatened when a thief starts targetting the library. Can the Deadlies spin a web big enough to catch a crook - or is it back on the road once more? -quoted from Goodreads

What a fun adventure with a unique family of crime fighting spiders. Who would have thought that spiders could be so cool? Certainly not me, but if this family of spiders lived in my house I'd definitely keep them around. Not only do they protect the Boston Public Library's collection of books from those pesky silverfish who eat through pages and the collectable paintings, but together they stop thieves who keep stealing pictures out of books.

Not only did I like the library setting, but I liked the way Kathryn was able to incorporate some fun science and history lessons into the story. I like it when my kids can read a fun book and take something away from it. The history part of the story comes from the collectable books were the spider family makes their home and the science part of the story comes from learning a ton of cool (or gross) spider facts, depending on how you look at it. The illustrations that go along with this story are great.

I also loved how the spider family learns to read and uses hieroglyphs in their webs to send messages to Tom, the friendly librarian in order to help him stop the thieves who vandalize the library's books. I really liked Tom, and admired his respect for the spiders and how nice he was to them. There's also a great lesson about respecting the public library and it's books, as well as historical artifacts. I'd definitely recommend this book for home, classroom and library settings. It's a creative way to get kids interested in reading, learning more about spiders (and this is coming from someone who's afraid of spiders), and respecting our public libraries. Kathryn also includes a great facts page at the end of her story about the library and spiders.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~