#kidlit: Two New Picture Books Featuring Adorable Spiders

Two fiction picture books came out in the last few months that both feature adorable spiders.

The Weaver by Qian Shi

Stanley the spider collects things and stores them in his web. What will he do when a storm comes and his collection is washed away? He comes up with a clever solution.

The Weaver Promo – Collector from Qian Shi on Vimeo.


Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Andersen Pr USA (April 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1541514548
ISBN-13: 978-1541514546

Bear’s Scare by Jacob Grant


Bear is very neat and tidy. He is beyond bothered when a spider begins building webs everywhere. That is, until the spider shows a hidden talent for fixing things.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (June 12, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1681197200
ISBN-13: 978-1681197203

Aren’t those the cutest spiders ever?


Looking for more children’s books about spiders? See our growing list of nonfiction and fiction titles about spiders at Science Books for Kids.


Purrfect #Kidlit: Super Cats -True Stories of Felines That Made History

For the Chinese Year of the Dog I created a list of children’s books about dogs, so let’s even things up by taking a look at the new middle grade book Super Cats: True Stories of Felines That Made History by Elizabeth Macleod.

After a brief introduction to how cool cats are, Elizabeth MacLeod delves into the history of cats, including how cats were treated as gods in ancient Egypt. Next she explores cultures that considered cats to be bad luck versus cultures that considered cats to be good luck.

In addition to being popular pets, cats can be much more. The author reveals some true stories of cat heroism, such as a cat famous for tracking down fish smugglers, two cats that detected electronic bugs in a Dutch embassy in Russia, and therapy cats that save lives. She also has some stories about how cats inspired their owners, from sparks from his cat’s fur motivating Nikola Tesla to study electricity, to composers stimulated to write cat-themed music.

Intermixed with the stories are interesting facts about cats, for example how far they can leap or tidbits about different breeds.

Some parts involve a frank look at death and dying. The book has photographs of cats catching mice, a lion attacking water buffalo, and a cat mummy. The author suggests that superstitions against cats in Europe from the 1300s to 1700s may have made the Black Death plague much worse because removing cats allowed mice and rat populations to explode. (The Black death is carried by rodent fleas.) One of the prominent inspirational stories is about Oscar the cat who seems to be able to predict or detect when the patients in the nursing home are about to die.

Most of the illustrations are cute cats like this one.

On the other hand,  most of the stories are heartwarming. Who can’t feel their blood pressure lowering when they read about cat cafés where patrons enjoy interacting with cats, or bookstore and library cats who nap among the books?

Super Felines is a “purrfect” choice for young cat owners and others who would like to learn more about these amazing animals. Cuddle up with a copy today!

Activity Suggestions

1. Writing prompt:  Write your own story about a cat.

For example:  Have you ever been adopted by a cat?

If you’ve ever had a cat, you know how they creep into your lives. At the shop where my son worked, the employees didn’t know they needed a cat, but a stray black and white female realized that they had an opening in their lives and decided to adopt them. Soon after her arrival, she had all the guys who work there at her beck and call. They were wrangled into giving her food, changing her litter box, and providing a warm lap now and then. Now she is the queen of the shop.

In another example, even though the book says the Bourke Police Department in New South Wales, Australia took in a stray cat they named PC Splashe, we know that instead PC Splashe adopted the police department.

2. Listen to some cat-inspired music such as Kitten on the Keys by Zez Confrey.


Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Publisher: Annick Press (March 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1554519934
ISBN-13: 978-1554519934

Disclosure: This book was from our local library. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

Practical #Kidlit: Let’s Hatch Chicks

Just in time for spring, meet Violet the Lavender Orpington hen and learn all about the life cycle of chickens in Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore the Wonderful World of Chickens and Eggs by Lisa Steele and illustrated by Perry Taylor.


When my son was in fourth grade, his teacher incubated eggs in the classroom. One weekend it was our turn to bring the incubator home and take care of the eggs. My son was thrilled and followed the instructions he had been given closely. He was even more excited when a few days later, the chicks that he had helped take care of began to hatch. Learning how the care for another creature was a valuable experience.

The new picture book, Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore the Wonderful World of Chickens, would be a great resource to accompany an egg incubation project. It gives context (that the eggs come from a hen), gives detailed information about what is happening inside the egg as it develops, and discusses how to care for the chicks once they hatch. Important vocabulary words are bold in the text, plus there’s an extensive glossary in the back matter.

Lisa Steele is an expert on keeping chickens and her knowledge shines through (see her website/blog: Fresh Eggs Daily). Even though I grew up on a farm where we had free range chickens, I learned a few things from reading the book. I didn’t know that some breeds of chickens have five toes on each foot, rather than the standard four. I also didn’t know the behavior of clucking to call chicks to food was called “tidbitting.” It is a sound that reminds me of my childhood.

The book has a nice look and feel. Perry Taylor’s illustrations are fabulous.  His chickens are so expressive, and the lavender/gray, and yellow and green color palette set the tone for spring.

Overall, Let’s Hatch Chicks! is exactly what educators look for in quality nonfiction picture books. A perfect choice not only for children who are experiencing chicken raising first hand, but also for those who might be curious about it and have not had the opportunity. Delightful!

See the author talk about the book and meet a chick in this video:

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Young Voyageur; 1 edition (Imprint of Quarto Group)(January 9, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0760357854
ISBN-13: 978-0760357859

Disclosures: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Escargot by Dashka Slater

We’ve had a few children’s books featuring French over the years, so of course we were delighted by Escargot by Daska Slater and illustrated by Sydney Hanson. It has a sprinkling of French phrases and a charming French feel.

Escargot is a treat because the main character, a snail named Escargot, speaks directly to the reader. He explains he has two goals:  To be the reader’s favorite animal and to go visit the salad at the back of the book. Neither work out quite as he expects.

You can find out all about what happens in this reading by Sophia:

Escargot is absolutely adorable and the message of trying new things is a laudable one. Check out a copy today. C’est magnifique!

Check out a bit more information about snails at Growing with Science blog.