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Spider and the Fly

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,729 Ratings  ·  486 Reviews
"'Will you walk into my parlor,' said the Spider to the Fly..."
is easily one of the most recognized and quoted first lines in all of English verse. But do you have any idea how the age-old tale of the Spider and the Fly ends? Join celebrated artist Tony DiTerlizzi as he -- drawing inspiration from one of his loves, the classic Hollywood horror movies of the 1920s and 193
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 01, 2012 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any fan of horror children's books!
“The Spider and the Fly” is a beatifully haunting tale based on a poem by Mary Howitt and with gloomy illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi. The story won a Caldecott Honor Award and is about how a creepy Vincent Price look-alike spider tries to entice an innocent looking female fly to come to his parlor and the book also explains the consequences of falling for the flattering words of strangers who are a threat to you. “The Spider and the Fly” is a great story that the whole family will enjoy, altho ...more
Mar 07, 2012 oliviasbooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to oliviasbooks by: Esther
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair. And I have many curious things to show you when you are there.

I still have to meet a librarian who can visit a foreign country without making at least a super quick dash into the second-hand bookshops or local libraries he or she comes across. I believe for most of us digging through shelves stuffed with never-seen-before titles or editions is an urge as compulsive as picking flowers in the forest is for Little Red Riding Hood.

Last week my colleague
Oct 30, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Chandra, thank you!
This is an amazing book! The illustrations are fabulous!!! Oh, yes, they are creepy. Oh, yes, the story is one that will give you chills if you really think about it. But, it is meant to be a cautionary tale, in the spirit of the unsanitized versions of "Little Red Riding Hood" or "Hansel and Gretel"--beware those who compliment you and offer you treats, for they may have evil designs on you! It is totally icky and horrible and I wish we did not live in a world like that, but, well, kids, don't ...more
Nov 07, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
“The Spider and the Fly” is a wonderful story based on the poem by Mary Howitt. Tony DiTerlizzi captures the look and feel of a creepy black and white movie in his wonderful illustrations. I especially love the beautiful fly which makes the spider look that much more menacing. I think small children would defiantly have trouble with the premise and illustrations of this story. “The Spider and the Fly” carries a strong message on the dangers of strangers and what can occur in a brilliantly haunti ...more
Lisa Vegan
This book was not my cup of tea. I don’t like spiders, flies, or horror stories. The (award winning) illustrations were too creepy, scary, ghoulish for my taste. This one could have given me nightmares if I’d had it read to me as a small child, but some children are much less sensitive. The poem by itself is ok and fine for kids. I guess I just disagree with most others about this book. Most seem to think highly of it. I definitely recommend it being screened before reading it to very young chil ...more
S. J.
Jun 21, 2013 S. J. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Parents first, then their kids if they feel ok with them reading it
Recommended to S. by: Class on Children's Literature
*5 Stars*

Scorecard: (Out of 10)
* Quality of Writing - 10
* Pace - 9
* Plot development - 10
* Characters - 10
* Enjoyability - 9
* Insightfulness - 9
* Ease of Reading - 9 (text is a tad old fashioned for most readers)
* Photos/Illustrations - 10 (I'd give it higher then that if I could)
Final Score: 76/80 = 95%

*WARNING: While the text hints at what happens to Miss Fly, the pictures make it abundantly clear. They are not graphic or anything but it is blatant. Parents should be aware and take into acco
Oct 21, 2014 Cora rated it really liked it
I'm doing a 5 day literary lesson using this book. Fun book though not what my first graders expected. Oh well, it is October!
Dec 28, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
I, of course, love Tony DiTerlizzi’s illustrations, he could illustrate pages and pages and I would soak them up. This story was slightly creepy, but it did have a good moral, one that you should take to heart. I also liked the rhyming and the black and white illustrations. I’d recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Tanya W
Oct 28, 2011 Tanya W rated it it was amazing
Wow... LOVED this story about how the clever spider catches the stupid fly. The spider wears the fly down through their conversation and association until he has subtly caught the fly in his trap.

GREAT book for a discussion with children about dangers and listening to parents and the techniques used to get them to use drugs/alcohol, get caught by a predator, etc.
Inspired Kathy
Sep 02, 2008 Inspired Kathy rated it it was amazing
This poem turned story is one of the few poems I like. I'm not really a poetry person but love to read this tale to my children.
Nov 09, 2015 Annella rated it it was amazing
"The Spider and the Fly" is a poem and "cautionary tale" written by Mary Hewitt and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. The story is about a fly who is swayed by a spider to come into his parlor. At first the fly was hesitant and refused the spider's intentions, but eventually his charms were too much for her and she was convinced to join him for dinner. Though little did she know, once entering his parlor "she ne'er came out again!"

The gothic black and white imagery and the characters' garments re
L12_luisespinoza Espinoza
Mar 14, 2012 L12_luisespinoza Espinoza rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This Caldecott Honor picture book is an excellent example of perfect harmony between the style of the text and the illustrations. The plot is simple and one that Kindergarteners and up will be able to understand; a hungry spider who is trying to trick a fly into his "parlor" by enticing her with his flattering words. The text follows an identifiable rhyme scheme with extensive dialogue between the spider and the fly, where the dialogue alternates between the spider and the fly from one page to t ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-and-ya
This is a beautiful, skin-crawling take on a lost classic poem, illustrated in the style of a black-and-white silent movie. But it's way darker than you would expect a kids' book to be. I mean, how do you think a friendship between a spider and a fly is going to end? And it's a friendship that carries some bizarre connotations, with the fly a damsel-in-distress insisting to the charming gentleman spider that she will not get in his bed. Yeah. Try feeling comfortable reading that to a class of fi ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Ch_13catherinecooper rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The Spider and the Fly is a fantastic picture book, "Based on the cautionary tale by Mary Howitt". The book is done entirely in black and white and gives the feeling of watching an old horror movie. The story involves a spider who is only concerned with catching his prey--in this instance it being a lovely naive fly. The spider spends much of the book trying to trick the fly into coming into his web, however the fly is aware of many of his tricks.

The images are very detailed and allow the reade
Michelle Webb
The Spider and the Fly is a tragic story of a little fly who is lured to her death by a charming and cunning spider. The story is told in a very poetic manor and is based on the cautionary tale told by Mary Howitt. It has a funny way of telling children that death happens, spiders do eat flies and in a gruesome kind of way of trickery but the story does not scare children, as the fly appears as a ghost at the end of the story. I like the story because it doesn’t give the children a fairy tale lo ...more
Mar 12, 2013 CH13_Kieran rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a children's book that offers a very old poem by Mary Howitt and new illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi. This particular poem is a cautionary tale of the malintentions of others. This very simple and basic, yet well-written, poem warns young children that not everyone they meet has their best interest in mind. This little fly seems quite aware of the conniving spider and avoids his every word. In the end, the spider convinces the fly of coming to his house due to his flattery. I was surpri ...more
Feb 21, 2008 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of childrens books, gorgeous illustration, Caldecott award winners, Edward Gorey fans
Recommended to Margaret by: Sean Corey Adams
This work is based on the works of a 19th century poet. A lovely update for modern century adult readers (and children nonetheless!) There is nary a grown-up who wouldn't have much to learn from this important warning to us all!

A wonderful illustrated depiction of how not to be laired into a sweet-talker's web. Gorgeous art nouveau inspired illustrations with a basic concept underlying it all! I especially loved how this was a "children's book" with a very Gorey ending (pun intended) that someti
Dec 02, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-s-books
OK, I totally dig this book for probably all the wrong reasons. 1. The art is great- black and white. If you like Tim Burton, this should work for you. 2. The story rhymes, which is just more fun to read if you ask me. (I didn't read the history in the back of the book, maybe it rhymes because it was originally a poem. That would make sense.) And 3. I can totally do great voices for the two characters. I'm not sure where I channeled the spider's deep suave voice from, but I love reading DS this ...more
Sep 12, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This was a great book with a sad, sad, ending and the illustrations were absolutely incredible. I must quote the back of the book:

"A gleefully sinister fable that spins its tale like a great old silent film. The kind one might only see in a haunted nickelodeon. I love the beautiful, dramatic, black-and-white illustrations." from Lane Smith, illustrator of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
May 12, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
Wonderful book! Surprising because it's all black and spooky but in a cute way. We have read this book so many times. Ellie now reads it to us. It's a fun book to read with a slick sly voice. Great moral!
Mar 30, 2015 Margaux rated it liked it
Creepy story about a spider that traps a fly in his web and charms her until she gives in. Parallels abound. A bit didactic for my tastes.
Oct 19, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: counseling-books
I love reading this book to my third graders as we are so close
To Halloween and red ribbon week (we discuss how people might try to lure them into trying drugs/alcohol/unsafe choices)

Love the illustrations!!!!
May 27, 2014 Magpie67 rated it it was amazing
A simple story re-told by Tony with incredible illustrations. A story that has double meaning for all ages... beware of the schemer and all their pretty words. "Unto an evil counselor, close heart and ear and eye, And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly. A cautionary tale that was first published in 1829. Dishonesty and traps are still being laid by the schemers and they prey upon all ages. Take heed my friends.... I do love the letter at the end of the story by the Spider. Q ...more
Lauren Brown
Feb 25, 2016 Lauren Brown rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The Poem the Spider and the Fly is a dark poem but has a meaningful message. In this poem we have two specific characters. First character is the Spider who is very sly, manipulative, and good at convincing others to fall into his trap. Then we have the Fly in this tale who in captures the body of innocence and this naïve personality. Even though the fly doesn't fall into the siders trap in the beginning the innocence brings the fly around once more which ends with a sad ending for our fly. Howe ...more
Thomasina Dinehdeal
Feb 11, 2016 Thomasina Dinehdeal rated it it was amazing
The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt is about a charming spider who tries to reel in a sweet fly who is passing by. He tries many ways to bring her into his web by saying sweet words to her. The fly knows that who ever falls for the spiders tricks will never come out. The spider is determined about getting the fly into his web, but will the fly fall for his sweet and charming words? I thought the book was suspenseful because I wanted to know if they fly was going to fall the spiders words.

Elizabeth Libera
Sep 10, 2015 Elizabeth Libera rated it really liked it
The Spider and the Fly is a children's picture book based on the poem by Mary Howitt and illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi. It is about a big manly spider who wants a cute little woman fly to come up to his castle. He tries to persuade her by telling her how comfortable his bed is and how yummy his food is. She nicely declines, although she agrees they sound like great offers. She finally accepts, and then finds out what is really going to happen to her.

I think this is a cute little story and i
Sep 10, 2015 Alyssa rated it really liked it
"The Spider and the Fly," written by Mary Howitt, tells the story of a hungry spider who wants to eat a fly. The fly comes into the spiders house and the spider gives the fly compliments. The fly try to trick the fly into thinking that he is nice so the fly will come back to his house later and the spider can eat her. The fly tries not to give in to the spiders game so she leaves. The spider knows that the fly will be back and plots to eat her. The fly returns to the house as the spider expected ...more
Mandy Moore
Feb 19, 2015 Mandy Moore rated it really liked it
Summary: This picture book by Mary Howitt is an incredible tribute to both poetry and fantasy. The Spider and the Fly is a picture book based of a poem written in 1829. The book focuses on a spider who is desperately hungry and focuses his sites on a small fly. At first, the fly knows better, but soon enough the spider reals her in by continually complimenting her. The beginning of the book starts by saying "'Will you walk into my parlor' said the Spider to the Fly.." but the fly would never get ...more
Feb 11, 2015 JUNE BENGOETXEA rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-book
THE SPIDER AND THE FLY is a wonderful poetry picture story book illustrated by Tony Diterlizzi and based on the cautionary tale by Mary Howitt. The story is told about the realistic relationship between a spider and a fly. In the beginning, the cunning male spider persuades the little female fly into his “parlor,” against the fly’s better judgment. In order to gain her trust, the spider offers the fly a place to rest and a feast to eat. Although the fly did not stay the night, the spider caught ...more
Cassandra Kneblik
Nov 16, 2014 Cassandra Kneblik rated it really liked it
Through black and white illustrations, a story is told about the realistic relationship between a spider and a fly. In the beginning, the cunning male spider persuades the hesitant little female fly into his “parlor,” against the fly’s better judgment. In order to gain her trust, the spider offers the fly a place to rest, a feast to eat, and a bit of flattery to seal the deal. Although the fly did not stay the night, the spider knew she would be back soon due to his kind complements. On the day ...more
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“Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly” 21 likes
“And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.”
More quotes…