Spidermania: Friends on the Web by Alexandra Siy, photomicrographs by Dennis Kunkel

Published by Holiday House

Summary: The cover of this book will undoubtedly scare off some potential readers. And that’s kind of the point of this book…to debunk the myths that spiders are scary and dangerous.  Sure they have fangs and venom, but most of them are pretty harmless to humans and they do some darn interesting things, the most famous of which is spinning amazing webs from a material that is strong, tough, flexible, lightweight, hypoallergenic, and totally biodegradable.  Ten unusual spiders are profiled, all with amazing photomicrographs of various parts of the spiders that have been brilliantly colored to make them stand out.  Back matter includes information on how to identify spiders, additional resources, and a pretty extensive glossary and index.  Grades 3-6.

Pros:  There’s a lot of great information that might make an arachnophobia sufferer see spiders in a much more positive light.  The pictures are super cool; spider fans will enjoy seeing the amazing details of various arachnid body parts.

Cons:  I would have liked to learn more about the photography process used.  I was unfamiliar with the word “photomicrograph” and finally found a brief paragraph about this process under the copyright information.  It didn’t completely satisfy my curiosity, though, and made no mention of the brilliant colors used.

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