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The Spider And The Fly

Page history last edited by Bestow 6 years, 11 months ago


Plot Summary

     The Spider and the Fly is a cautionary tale written by Mary Howitt and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi.  This book is a picturebook, and the genre of the book is poetry and fantasy.  It is poetry because it is written in that style.  It rhymes at the end of each line with the line before it or after it.  It is fantasy because the spider and the fly can't actually talk to each other.  The spider and the fly would not wear clothes or live in a house that a human would live in. 

     This book is a story about a spider who is hungry.  He sees the fly and he wants her to come over so he can eat her.  He tries to trick the fly into getting trapped.  He tries to show his concern for her and flatter her by giving her compliments.  Part of the point of the story is to try to teach kids a lesson.  Kids need to be careful who they trust and careful who they talk to.  We do not want them to fall into some schemer's trap.  Read this story and find out if the fly has made good decisions about whether or not to trust the spider. 


Textual Elements

          The plot of this story is that the spider is trying to trick the fly so that he can eat her.  The fly is trying to resist the spider's tricks.  The story is about how the spider and the fly each try to carry out their own objectives.  In the end, one of them wins, and the other loses.  The setting of this story is around the spider's house and inside the spider's house.  I think the story takes place at nighttime because the pictures are very dark.  The only characters in this book are the spider and the fly.  They are both very simple characters and do not have any layers.  The spider represents evil and the fly represents innocence.  The story is being told from the view of a third party.  The narrator is not on either character's side, they are just relating the story exactly as it happened.  The theme of this story is to be careful who you trust.  The fly should not trust the spider because he just wants to take advantage of her and eat her.  Kids should learn a lesson from this story and be careful about who they trust in their lives, especially with strangers.  It is just like the rule that parents always tell their children.  They say, "Don't talk to strangers."  This book can help you tell them this rule.


Artistic Elements 

     Tony DiTerlizzi did an amazing job of illustrating this book.  His drawings are all black and white drawings.  The illustrations in this book are amazing even though they do not have color.  I think this shows that illustrations do not need to have color to be done well.  The pictures in this book are a full bleed and they have lots of detail in them.  There are many hidden things in them that you might not notice the first time you read the book.  For example, on the third part of the poem where it says "I'm sure you must be weary..." you can see the ghosts of other bugs who have been eaten.  They are trying to tell the fly not to fall for the spider's tricks.  Also, on the wallpaper, there are pictures of bugs.  The ottoman that the spider is resting one of his legs on is a lady bug.  It is very interesting to study the picture and see what all DiTerlizzi has added to the story.  On the first page of the book, you see one of the bugs that have been previously eaten by the spider.  He is now a ghost.  On the second page, you see the spider's creepy house.  It really sets the mood for the story, just like the black and white drawings do.  It kind of gives it a gloomy feel.  The story is supposed to be kind of scary.

     The text of the story is always on the left hand page near the top.  Even though the illustrations cover both pages, the text is high enough on the page that it doesn't interfere with the illustrations.  The style of the text also seems appropriate for the book.  If I would describe it, I would say it looks kind of "spidery".  The illustrations and the style of the text seem to fit very well together.


Analysis and Critique

          The Spider and the Fly is a great book.  I would recommend it to everyone.  I think it is a cute book and a fun book to read.  The message of the book, according to the last page is "to idle, silly, flattering words I pray you ne'er give heed".  Children should not fall into the trap of the nice things that people might say to them.  I think this book also shows that there are lots of dangerous things in our world.  Even little things are dangerous.  Spiders are dangerous for flies because they want to eat them.  It shows that our world can be a hard place to live in.  Overall, I think this book has a good message and that it is good for everyone to read.


     For more information about the author (Mary Howitt), you can read her autobiography called Mary Howitt: an autobiography.  For more information about the illustrator (Tony DiTerlizzi), please visit http://www.diterlizzi.com/.




Picture Book Citation

Howitt, Mary. The Spider and the Fly. Illus. Tony DiTerlizzi. New York: Simon & Schuster Bookds for Young Readers, 2003.

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