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Be Nice to Spiders

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  433 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
When Billy left his pet spider, Helen, at the Zoo, the animals suddenly became happy and contented. The lions snoozed all day long, the elephants enjoyed their baths, and the zebras ate their hay in peace -- all because Helen was spinning webs and catching flies.

But one day Helen's webs were swept away. The Keeper had the cages cleaned for the Mayor's inspection tour. Soon
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 13th 1967 by HarperCollins (first published June 1967)
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Sep 23, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Oh, gosh! A rediscovered childhood favorite!!! This is actually from way before my time, even, (first published in the late '60s) and while it certainly is a tad dated now (such as all the workers at the zoo being men), I still think it could win over kids today.

Helen the spider arrives at the front gates of the zoo with a note from the little boy who owns her asking them to please take care of her because can't take her with him to his new "no pets allowed" apartment. When the box is opened, s
Nov 26, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
Dear Publisher,
Please keep this book in your active files... no need to redo it in any way (except keep it available) since the art is as delightful as the story (as I weary of "updated" art especially when the original is terrific).
A Librarian who reads this to children who still enjoy it immensely.
RH Walters
Apr 13, 2014 RH Walters rated it liked it
A low-drama childhood favorite with an pleasing message, recently rediscovered at a local thrift store.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Sannwald
Mar 19, 2012 Bill Sannwald rated it really liked it
My son made me so proud this past week. He asked if he could stay longer at preschool because he had just discovered an interesting spider and wanted to look at it with the other kids. I watched him play from the car and was amazed at the compassion he showed for such a small life. While the other kids were trying their best to kill or torture the spider, he protected it. He told the other kids to leave the spider alone and boxed them out when they tried to get in close to do some damage. We lat ...more
Aug 29, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, pets, zoo, 2011
We attended a summer library program that included facts and stories about spiders. It was a fun program and afterward, our girls flocked toward a table filled with books on spiders, taking home several. I don't remember reading this book before, but it's likely that it was at my local library when I was a child, too. I love sharing books like this, ones that have really stood the test of time. The illustrations are fun, and reminded me strongly of the Harry books by Gene Zion (which makes sense ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I thought this was a great book because it showed how useful spiders are in world, didn't make them scary and what would happen if there were no spiders. A great book
May 22, 2017 Emelia rated it liked it
Read to Jack and Julia.
May 16, 2017 Ghyllee rated it it was amazing
a substitute teacher read this book to my (first or second) grade class and i STILL remember it.
Oct 14, 2012 Hazel rated it really liked it
Another charmer from Aunt Vicki. Published in 1967, it is slightly dated but this almost adds to it's charm.

The story is simple with the moral that everything is useful and has a place in the world.

The ending annoyed me a little bit and I will quote the last page.

"And Billy was right. A few days later, out of the egg sac came lots of little spiders.

From then on, Helen and her children and all the animals in the Zoo lived happily ever after"

Anyone who has read Charlotte's Web will know that once
Jun 06, 2012 June rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: spider and zoo requests
Shelves: spider, storytime
A favorite from my childhood that I usually bring out for my older story time. It went over fairly well, one girl was entranced (a young me?) and most of the rest where intrigued with the animals and finding the spider, though it was too much for one child. 6/6/12

My story time might be getting a little too big to use this, since Helen doesn't show up very well from across a room. 5/22/13

Did not work well this year. Had a smaller group when I started, then 2 groups came in late and 2 toddlers lef
Mar 13, 2011 Bree rated it it was amazing
This book will always remind me of my mom. She loves this book when I was a little girl we would always read it. I grew up with a mom that wasn't afraid of any bugs and would save them all by gently catching them and taking them outside. I'm glad other children have this book so they can understand the beauty of spiders, and maybe grow a little more appreciation for them. A wonderful book. Great message and great illustrations to highlight the book. Pick it up. Buy it. Enjoy it with your little ...more
Jo Miller
Shows kids that you can't judge a person and what they can do based on the way they look. A spider is dropped off at a zoo by a little boy. This spider makes a home at the zoo and helps keep the flies away from the animals. When the Mayor comes to inspect the zoo they clean up all the spider webs and the animals are all happy because there are no flies bothering them. The spider got scared and stayed in the camel house. The zookeepers realized that the camels are the only animals that are happy ...more
The Brothers
Jan 16, 2016 The Brothers rated it liked it
Shelves: flies, zoos, spiders
Billy has to give up his pet spider because he's moving to a new apartment. So, he leaves her at the zoo, where she promptly makes the lives of all the zoo animals better by eating all the pesky flies. But when the mayor comes to the zoo, all the keepers get rid of the spider webs and the flies return. With the logical reasoning of your average five year old, the main Zookeeper and some noob named Joe figure out that they need spiders to get rid of all the flies.

Illustrations are charmingly ol'
The artwork is in a style from a bygone era and the story is timeless. I know a few adults who'd benefit from reading this book. To me, it's a classic. The spider's name (no spoilers here) is even a great choice for helping to demystify that character in the story. I recommend it to all animal lovers, people concerned for the environment, parents with small children, and those afraid of insects. I think I'll recommend it to my daughter (26 years old), too! :-)
May 16, 2015 Siskiyou-Suzy rated it really liked it
Be Nice to Spiders is a nice little book with a nice little message that's right in the title. I have quite an affinity for spiders these days, so it's nice to have this book around. Some children kill spiders on sight, and while I understand needing to be able to identify potentially dangerous spiders, letting the innocent little orb-weavers and grass spiders be is important.
Kyle Greenberg
Be Nice to Spiders is a very cute book to read to elementary students. Spiders seem like they would not be a very good pet, but this book explains that because the pet spider Helen was left at the zoo, all of the other animals benefited from it! Students could discuss the positive outcomes and surprising turn with the great spider at the zoo who made the other animals a lot happier!
Jun 14, 2010 Robert rated it it was amazing
This book taught me, as the title proclaims, to always Be Nice to Spiders. I learned this as a child, and I am still practicing this wisdom. A splendid book for children and adults alike. One of my all time favorites. I am happy it is still in publication for new generations of young readers and their parents.
May 08, 2012 Abigail rated it it was amazing
I serendipitously came across this in the results of a book search for another book. I read it as a child, but had totally forgotten about it until now. About how even the seemingly insignificant can turn out to be quite important after all.
Sara Lemonade
Dec 29, 2014 Sara Lemonade rated it really liked it
Did you know that back in 1967, a single spider could capture and eat every housefly that buzzed around a major metropolitan zoo? Also, in 1967, the zoo only employed men, and the show "Bewitched" went to color.
Stephanie Klaren
This is a great book to use with early elementary aged children to show them not to judge people or things on the way they look. Be Nice to Spiders is an easy read book that has a few harder vocabulary words to broaden the children's language.
Rebecca Mcgraw
Mar 08, 2016 Rebecca Mcgraw rated it really liked it
This was my book when I was little so I pulled it out and read it to Alex at bedtime one night last week, and now we've read it three times since. He'd like to recommend it to four-year-olds everywhere.
Mandy J. Hoffman
Jul 17, 2009 Mandy J. Hoffman rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
When Helen is dropped off at the Zoo she learns to make the best of her new home. But when the Mayor comes her new home changes until the Zoo keeper realizes just how important Helen is! This is a great story with some great learning hidden in the pages.
Feb 21, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it
Love the illustrations in this story about the value of spiders. Margaret Bloy Graham always created characters that were highly appealing to me as a child, and carry me back as an adult. A great readaloud that can be used as a cross-curricular tool.
Elizabeth Schrank
This book is a childhood favorite of mine. It is about a boys pet spider who spins webs and keeps the flies away from the animals so they can live in peace. This is an older book, but I think that the illustrations are great in supporting the text.
Jennifer Hess
Mar 18, 2011 Jennifer Hess rated it really liked it
This was a favorite of mine as a child. Gavin loves this book. It is hard not to fall in love with a spider named Helen who eats the flies that torment the animals. This book will always have a special place in my heart.
Sep 05, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
A cute story. Another reviewer suggested that the book requires no updates. I disagree. Now that we are in the 21st Century, a few female zookeepers would be nice to see. That said, it was great that Graham managed to create a female hero for the story.
Marta-Kate Jackson
Helen the spider proves spiders are useful, especially at zoos that have problems with flies.
I wish I had shelved this classic sooner so the 2nd graders could have used it in their spider unit. Cute book.
Stacy Fetters
Mar 05, 2015 Stacy Fetters rated it really liked it
Totally adorable. Spiders can be gross and nasty. But Helen here is good for the zoo and helpful too.
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