Clarion Books

 

The Titles


Spider Boy, by Ralph Fletcher

The Reviews

Spider Boy

by Ralph Fletcher

ISBN = 0 395 77606 6
Price = £9.95
Published = 1997
Review written = 30/July/1998
183 pages

I seem to remember the 'blurb' I first read on this book saying something like "..this is the story of a boy who gets to spend a day living the life of his pet spider". I thought that this would make a great story so I acquired a copy. Whether I read it wrong or not I may never know but there is nothing so metaphysical about this story. However despite having acquired it expecting something else I thoroughly enjoyed it and was most pleased that I had read it in the end.

The story is set in modern USA and is concerned with a few months in the life of a young boy as he learns to adapt to a new town and a new school. What makes it interesting to me is that Bobby keeps a pet Tarantula and is nuts about spiders. Nuts in an intelligent but believable way. As the story follows the trials and tribulations of Bobby's life so it is interwoven with a host of fascinating spider facts and observations. The reader gets not only a great story but the chance to learn quite a bit about spiders as well.

Inevitable there are a few errors in the science, the author has the tendency to refer to a spider with a habit, such as eating other spiders, as if his example was the only one of its kind. This is slightly misleading and suggest a lack of information on the authors behalf. Further to this typos like spelling of Scytodes, the genera of spitting spiders (of which we have one species in the UK and of which there are about 36 species in the USA) as Scydotes adds error to the inference that there is only one species in Africa that has this amazing habit. Finally the mystery disease that afflicted many people in Europe in the 14th to 16th centuries was Tarantism not Tarentism, it was named after the Italian town of Taranto where much tarantism occurred.

Apart from these few errors the book is remarkably factual and well written with characters you can believe in. There is much more to the story line than I have mentioned here but to learn what you will have to read the book. Ultimately any book with a hero who has such a positive attitude to spiders has got to be a winner for me. I am sure this book will be enjoyed by many people over the years. Highly Recommended

Follow this link to find the book Spider Boy on Amazon.com

 


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