The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Age Range: 2 to 6

We have so many spiders around and so many spiders’ webs to look at that my daughter decided that The Very Busy Spider was a good book to read so she could see how spiders make their webs. I love the simplicity and the repetition in this story and it has stimulated some interesting discussions.

The Story: The wind blows a spider into the farmyard where she lands on a fence post and starts to spin her web. Various animals ask her if she would like to join them in a range of activities but she is too busy to answer until the rooster asks her if she would like to catch a fly. By this time the spider has finished making her web so she catches the fly. When an owl admires her beautiful web she is already asleep.

We have the board book version of The Very Busy Spider which has a lovely, embossed spiders’ web that you can follow with your finger as she builds it. Each double page spread has a different animal on the left and the spider building her web on the right. It’s a great story for introducing different animals to toddlers and they can also find the ‘pesty fly’ which is on every animal page throughout the story. The repetitive text is good for a beginner reader and makes it easy for a non native English speaker to follow the story. I also think that it is a great story for showing children that hard work, patience and perseverance gets you to your goal.

I would definitely include The Very Busy Spider in a topic about insects or minibeasts. The story stimulated an interesting discussion about why a spider doesn’t get stuck to his / her web when other insects do. It was a question that I had never thought of so I learnt something new too! Apparently not all strands are sticky so the spider knows which ones to avoid (in his or her own web) but there does seem to be some dispute over the fact that a spider’s feet are coated in oil so they don’t stick to the silky strands (should any arachnologists be reading this post I would love to hear your opinion!).

Another great story from Eric Carle which can be used to stimulate learning.

Author / Illustrator: Eric Carle

The Very Busy Spider

by Eric Carle [Hamish Hamilton]
£5.03 ·  EUR 9,05 ·  EUR 7,05 ·  EUR 8,39 ·  $11.87

Eric Carle - German: Die Kleine Spinne Spinnt Und Schweigt (German Edition)

by Eric Carle [Gerstenberg Verlag]
£8.52 ·  EUR 10,50 ·  EUR 13,72 ·  EUR 9,69 ·  $10.49

10 thoughts on “The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

  1. Very interesting about the spider not getting caught in its own web. We just got The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle from the library the other day – and the fly is a casualty in that one, too!

  2. I can’t believe in all these years that we’ve read this book that we’ve never wondered about this. It is a great book, one of our favourites.

    • I’ve never even thought about why a spider doesn’t stick to his web, it’s lovely how young children can make you question things you have never questioned before (although some of the questions aren’t easy to answer!) :)

  3. Anything Eric Carle is/has been a huge hit in our house. His illustrations are just beautiful too! What a great idea for a blog Catherine! Just lovely! :)

  4. First, I LOVE Eric Carle. No matter the book, they are wonderful. I love your child’s question. I never thought of that great question either. I want that arachnologist to answer. I just may have to do a research project to find that out too. : )
    As she grows a bit older, “Charlotte’s Web” is a special spider book for me. I got to play the sheep in a school play of that story and that was centuries ago!

    • Thank you for visiting Story Snug Linda :).
      I find it really interesting that my daughter questions things that I have never thought of questioning. It’s a great learning process for me too! I read Charlotte’s Web when I was younger and I can’t wait to introduce it to my daughter.

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