“Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision–
it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so.”
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne ~
As I was getting ready to host day four of the blog tour celebrating Spi-Ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs, Leslie Bulion and Robert Meganck’s terrific new book published by Peachtree last month, I conducted an informal survey of my students regarding spiders. I found very few fans. Most didn’t like them because they were afraid of being bitten or thought that spiders are poisonous. Well, an hour or so with Spi-Ku will set the record straight.
This book is bursting with facts and figures about these amazing arachnids. Did you know, for example, that there are more than forty-eight thousand species of spiders in the world?! Or that “spiders have crawled the Earth for more than 400 million years?” Neither did I! The best nonfiction not only teaches new information, it clarifies misunderstandings as well. Virtually every child I shared this book with thought that a daddy longlegs was a spider, but Leslie clears up that confusion right away.
Leslie is a master of playful, informative science poetry for kids. Her previous work includes Superlative Birds, Leaf Litter Critters, and Amphibian Acrobats, among others. Using both poetry and informational text, Leslie closely examines these misunderstood creatures. She creatively weaves together cool details with playful, poetic language. The results are lines like “sun-shimmer silk” and “…its own family recipe/to make a fly smoothie.” She addresses all aspects of arachnid life, including:
- Types of spiders and different hunting techniques
- How spiders move
- How they eat
- Types of webs
- Types of camouflage
- Spider senses
- Courtship rituals
- Egg laying and care of young
These poems can be enjoyed on their own, but the nonfiction notes and back matter, including suggestions for further reading, deepen readers’ understanding of spiders. Leslie has also created a Teacher’s Guide with additional tips and activities. Spi-Ku will spark new questions and send kids off to learn more. One student wanted to know more about how hummingbirds use spider silk in their nests. Another was fascinated by the way pirate spiders lured and trapped other spiders in their own webs!
Robert Meganck’s illustrations let readers get up close and personal with these curious creatures. The whimsical illustrations show spiders on the move, capturing prey, and hanging out in webs, Another feature that will rivet kids’ attention are the pages which show the relative sizes of the spiders described in Leslie’s poems.
Nature lovers of all ages will devour this book. After spending time with Spi-Ku, all readers will learn to appreciate, if not love, our eight-legged friends.
Please visit the other stops on Spi-Ku’s blog tour:
You can also visit Leslie, Robert, and Peachtree Publishers on social media:
Leslie Bulion social handles:
Robert Meganck social handles:
Peachtree social handles: