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Up, Up, and Away

Up, Up, and Away

By: Ginger Wadsworth 
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; 1st edition 
Publication Date: July 2009 
ISBN: 978-1580892216 
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler 
Review Date: November 2009

A beautiful garden spider had just finished laying her eggs and was wrapping them up carefully so they would survive the winter. When she was finished, she tied "her egg sac tight to a twig." The colorful leaves were swirling and falling to the ground. Winter would soon come to the landscape. There were "hundreds of sisters and brothers" who were snug in their sac, but when spring arrived the warmth would be signal the spiderlings that it was time to chew "a hole in the sac" and escape to the outside world. A sister spider tumbled out of the sac, quickly followed by her brothers and sisters.

Spider is quick and escapes the long, lunging tongue of a lizard, but some of her siblings are not as lucky. PLOP! Her "eight legs thrash as she turns and jerks, until she jams to a stop on top of a rock." She didn't want to tumble off the rock and quickly spun a dragline. Her siblings are moving and spinning all around her. They were all hunting for food, but other creatures view them as a tasty snack. A bluebird swooped down, but Spider escaped, rappelling down the side of the rock to hide in a crack. Predators abound, but Spider is hungry too and will roam until she finds a place of her own to build a web. No one had to tell her what to do. Before long she will find a home and winter will be upon her.

This is a beautiful book that not only talks about the life cycle of the spider (arachnid), but also teaches children about the food web and the who-eats-who environment in nature. The story, along with the charming artwork, was fascinating and will be an excellent venture into nonfiction for the younger student. I loved the easy flow of the story and felt myself actual hoping that Spider would escape the clutches of her predators and make it to the next winter. In the back of the book is a page with more information about the Argiope aurantia, a "type of garden spider."

Quill says: This is a charming book that even the hard core spider hater just might enjoy!

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