Little Spider is warned about the dangers of swinging from the web. Cats, light bulbs and clumsy feet are all mentioned. There’s only one problem. Swinging from the web is so fun that Little Spider can’t stop. One day, when everyone is asleep, she ignores all the rules and swings out into the wide world … to land in a bowl of soup.
It should be a disaster, but taking a risk isn’t always dangerous. The soup-based adventure leads to new friendships, and soon all the spiders are following Little Spider’s lead.
Little Spider could have been eaten up. Or drowned. That’s the fact, and it is worth pointing that out to young readers. How do we know when it is safe to take a risk and when it is just plain not a good idea? Danger is a difficult subject to discuss with young readers, however, a climate where children are afraid to push themselves and explore is unhealthy too. This is a brilliant story to open conversations about danger and risk. After all, diving from a higher board at the swimming pool is a very different risk to jumping out into the traffic. Risking a grazed knee is a different thing to multiple fractures. Understanding that, as we get bigger, we sometimes have to trust our own instincts is a huge lesson.
The spiders are delightful, and not the least bit hairy or scary. Of course, I’m a spider-lover and have been since childhood, but as illustrated spiders go these are gentle enough that the story could be shared even with people who are phobic.
Calm backgrounds are used as a canvas for multiple patterns and colours. Different objects have their own patterns and the result is a collage picture which feels like a snapshot of a normal kitchen.
An adventure which encourages readers to trust their instincts and to talk about different types of danger, and a wonderful spider-based story.
Thanks to Oxford University Press for my gifted copy of There’s A Spider In My Soup. Opinions my own.