A lonely spider goes for a walk and learns characteristics of insects and mammals in this first picture book of a planned series.
The “Itsy-Bitsy” spider of nursery-rhyme fame is lonely, now that the rain has gone away, so he takes a stroll. He meets six-legged insect Ms. Fly; amphibious Willy, a salamander; and Goldilocks and the three bears, who note that they’re “called MAMMALS because of our fur.” Debut author Douglas’ text offers visual interest with letters that are small and tall, fine-lined and fat, light and bold. Simmons’ full-page watercolor illustrations and rhyming text also have a gentle appeal. The narrative, however, is undermined by a grammatical error: “Itsy met a salamander named Willy, / Who offered him a coat because it was chilly.” Clearly, the author meant to say that Itsy-Bitsy offers the coat, not Willy—because Willy then turns the coat down. The book also leaves the impression that elements are missing. On one page, for instance, Itsy-Bitsy and Willy head toward a noise; on the next, Willy has disappeared. The “noise” is an auction—a term that’s not explained. Nor is there any context for Itsy-Bitsy’s “bid” of “Eight mismatched socks,” although the illustration of the sock-wearing spider is adorable.
A sweet-natured, science-themed book that would have benefited from a stronger edit.