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The Spider and the Fly

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  8,366 Ratings  ·  566 Reviews
A special 10th Anniversary Edition of an illustrated classic that won the Caldecott Honor. Includes a collectible poster showcasing original art.

“Will you walk into my parlor,” said the Spider to the Fly....
This enduring verse from Mary Howitt dates back to the nineteenth century, but its warning—to beware the wiles of flattery—remains as relevant as ever. Celebrated artis
Hardcover, 10th Anniversary Edition, 40 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2002)
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Mar 02, 2012 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
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
AMAZING illustrations!
Nov 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Latanya (a.k.a CraftyScribbles)
“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.”

Based on a poem, this story, deliciously set in Gothic tone and scenery, warns its readers to not heed sweet words leading to your fate.

Fly, dressed in purple and green finery, meets Spider, and despite his reputation, seals her fate as he promises his best intention
S. J.
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the illustrations in this novel are fantastic, and the poem is so dark and quite sad, but it is a fantastic read, would not call it a childrens book though thats for sure. The theme of the spider luring the spider into his den to kill her is very dark and children wont be able to handle it.
On a side note, i loved this book. Fantastic read.
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!!!
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.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
L12_luisespinoza Espinoza
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 20, 2008 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
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with older children
A unique black and white illustrated story that follows the poem by Mary Howitt. Slightly scary, but not overly so, and the illustrations make this a great book, perfect for the Halloween season. We've read this book a couple of times and our girls really love it.

This book was selected as one of the books for the May 2017- Caldecott Honors 2003-2007 discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
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
This classic poem by Mary Howitt is great. I couldn't passively read the words. Before I knew it, I was reading aloud - pausing at each page to study the illustrations. I love, love, love DiTerlizzi's white on black illustrations. They add several levels of meaning and humor to the poem. I especially love the bug ghosts who try to warn the fly of the danger she is flirting with. And the note from the spider at the end is a hoot! Anyone who has ever read Charlotte's Web needs to read this book.
One evening the Spider entices the Fly to come and join him in his parlour. Classic 1920's Hollywood style pictures have you asking whether or not you can trust the Spider.

A great picture book about being cautious of strangers and their intentions. With dauntingly beautiful illustrations, it's great for the older child. This was on the show Bookaboo and read by the actress Amelia Fox.

V @ 6 months old.
Tasmin Lamb
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Such an interesting book with intricate detail in the illustrations. This story has multiple meanings which can be explored by children. After looking at this book at university it opened up several learning opportunities and ideas that could be used in the classroom for a key stage 2 year group. I especially loved the idea of both the spider and the fly having a split personality and why/how this could be interpreted by children in several ways.
Oct 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This cautionary tale is actually a poem written by Mary Howitt in the early 1800s. It cautions children to be careful of people's sweet words that cover up evil intentions. Tony DiTerlizzi's illustrations made me feel like I was looking at scenes from a Pixar movie. A very scary Pixar movie! His fly is a sweet, young, and innocent girl. In contrast, his spider is a huge, lurking con artist. He slowly lures her to his web with his flattery. R.I.P. Fly. Grades 3-8.
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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“Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly” 23 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…