Gregory the Spider invites kids to follow him through the calendar and learn what’s special about each month in this children’s picture book.
Last seen in the background to illustrations in Meyer’s Merry Stirring Mice: Santa’s Secret Team (2014), Gregory the Spider returns to star in a book of his own. Through the 12 months of the year, friendly Gregory and his pals—including a white human family and a mouse family—explore what’s special about each month. In January, for example, on an icy day, a book on Martin Luther King Jr. pokes out of a child’s backpack; inside a house, a girl kneels by the window with a warm drink in her hand, and outside, a mouse pair ice-skates on a puddle. Each page offers I-Spy animals, objects, and month names to notice or find hidden in the illustrations, possibly woven into Gregory’s web. A checklist is appended with some explanations. For example, a humpback whale and her baby are shown in August, that month being the best time to see them on the U.S. East Coast. Another nice recurring feature are children’s backpacks, which often have month-related books visible, such as one on MLK for January. The illustrations are well-detailed, colorful, and appealing, and although most human characters are white, there is a gesture toward diversity in the December scene, which shows cookies for Santa and an Elf on the Shelf, but also a dreidel.
Whimsy and hidden objects add much to the appeal of this month-by-month journey.