A well-intentioned but preachy chapter book about a girl, her failing great-grandmother and a spider.
Jenny loves to visit her great-grandmother, who is 89 and who likes to have Jenny call her “Violet-Anne,” as her beloved and long-departed husband Edward did. Jenny enjoys listening to Violet-Anne’s reminiscences, exploring her button box and playing with Edward’s toy soldiers. Violet-Anne likes to name her household wildlife: There’s Misty the opossum and Saffron the lizard, and soon Jenny discovers Sam, the seven-legged spider. Violet-Anne loves to see Sam’s webs, which remind her of her wedding veil and her diamonds. Jenny’s mother, however, comes regularly to clean Violet-Anne’s home and to convince her to move into a nursing home. Although Jenny does not love spiders, she loves how her great-grandmother responds to them with memories, and she not only tries to save Sam from her mother’s bug spray, but carries the spider to the nursing home when Violet-Anne is moved there. Violet-Anne dies after only a few days, separated from her memories, but Jenny manages, with hairspray and determination, to preserve the last web that Sam spun for Violet-Anne, complete with a tiny flower in its center.
The full-page and spot illustrations are squiggly and vibrant and have more energy than the sentimental and slightly simplistic story. (Fiction. 6-10)