A SPIDER MIGHT by Tom Walther


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Can you imagine sprouting plumes? . . . When you need to travel a long distance, wouldn't it be handy if you could let out some threads to catch the wind? . . . Would you like to go trapping and use a sticky glob on the end of a string to catch your food? . . . Would you grow better if you slipped out of your skin and grew a new larger one?"" In truth ""you"" wouldn't do any of these things but ""a spider might,"" notes Walther who introduces each arachnid feature with such a ""what-if"" question. It's true that thus highlighting the spiders' peculiarities does tend to draw attention to the ensuing description, and so does asking children to imagine themselves in the spider's place; but Walther's manner of doing so is a shade too cute. (""It would not be polite"" is his response to his own question, ""When you are hungry do you ever have thoughts of eating your sisters and brothers?"") There is a sort of extended appendix which gives a more businesslike rundown on spiders, but the children who might appreciate this will be put off by what precedes it. The drawings are pleasing but the whole approach seems an unfortunate misapplication of the umwelt concept developed in last year's Sierra Club winner, the Kohls' View from the Oak.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1978
Publisher: Sierra Club/Scribners