Sammy Spider is perfectly safe.
Maybe you’re a parent. Your child is asleep in the next room, and you’re watching the news. War has broken out in the Middle East. Senators are screaming about the budget. There’s a pile of picture books nearby. You want to give your child a story with no conflict at all. You open up this latest in the Sammy Spider series. A boy is crying. He has no friends at his new house. But two pages later, the boy next door brings him cake. They play baseball. They take turns on the swing. Sammy spins a web to keep them entertained. You think: No one could object to this book. It even teaches vocabulary, like the Hebrew word akavish, which means spider, and the English word “hospitality.” And you think: Did I really make friends that quickly when I was a child? Maybe you did. But you start thinking about the books you loved back then. Max had to tame monsters. The Cat in the Hat nearly destroyed a house. And suddenly, the boys on their swing seem a little dull. You look for a book about pirates, in case your child wakes up in the middle of the night.
This is a book without conflict, and that’s the last thing a child needs. (Picture book. 2-8)