It's Friday already. What a strange start to Spring we've had this year. The recent blustery, windy days were perfect for reading this week's #PPBF choice of a spider at the mercy of the weather.
While this book is about nature and spiders, it also struck a chord with my military childhood. When you move around a lot, "home" can tend to be identified by "where your things are." Not necessarily a particular structure or town. While this can build a type of resilience to moving and change, when a treasure is lost or destroyed, it can feel as earth shattering as someone else losing their physical home.
As an evaluation of uniqueness, loss, and resilience, this book about a small black spider has a lot to offer its readers.
Author/Illustrator: Qian Shi
Publisher: Anderson Press (2018)
Nature, spiders, uniqueness, collections, loss, and healing.
Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):
Stanley is a spider, a weaver and a collector. On his web he collects seeds, twigs, leaves and all kinds of precious things he cannot name. Stanley is very proud of his collection, but what can one tiny spider do when it is washed away? In this stunning, deceptively simple and thoughtful debut from animator, illustrator and writer Qian Shi we discover the difference between what you collect in the world and what you collect in your heart.
All spiders lead a life of adventures.
Once they are born, they wave goodbye to each other and hitch a ride on the wind.
When the wind drops them off, they set about weaving a web.
Stanley has found his perfect spot.
Why I like this book:
First of all, look at the fun end pages. They are the perfect frame for the story. The front pages contain the items Stanley finds and the back pages show Stanley's weavings. And although I really do not like spiders, I must admit that Stanley is a very adorable and sympathetic character.
© Qian Shi, 2018.
Stanley is an unusual spider. Although he weaves the traditional web, he likes collecting things like seeds, leaves, and all kinds of found items. Then, as a consummate collector, he weaves all his treasures into his web.
© Qian Shi, 2018.
When a rainstorm destroys his web, and washes away all his treasures, Stanley feels as though he's lost everything. But he discovers a special way to overcome his loss and realizes what was most valuable about the things he'd treasured. Qian's animation background helps give her bright colorful illustrations so much movement and emotion.
This is an excellent book to gently help young readers deal with moving, the loss of something precious, or a tragedy. Without being preachy or didactic, Stanley offers kids a strategy to help cope and learn to adapt to change or loss.
- make a weaving spider craft (http://www.booknerdmommy.com/spider-web-craft-weaver/)
- ask what they like to collect? Have them draw or photograph their collections and make a scrapbook. Maybe even draw a web on the cover (using glue and glitter or sparkly pens?).
- go outside and look for spider webs. Discuss how are they different? What's the most unusual one they found? Can they draw or create their favorite web?
- maybe make a drawing, collage, or write a story about something you've lost.
This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.
If you want to learn more about the debut author/illustrator, Qian Shi, check out our discussion this Monday - here.