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The Very Busy Spider

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From bestselling author and illustrator Eric Carle, the creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar , comes another classic tale about one very busy spider. A perfect gift to share with the child or grandchild in your life.

Early one morning a little spider spins her web on a fence post. One by one, the animals of the nearby farm try to distract her, yet the busy little spider keeps diligently at her work. When she is done, she is able to show everyone that not only is her creation quite beautiful, it is also quite useful!

This multi-sensory board book allows children to feel the pictures as well as see them, and is the perfect size for little hands. With its rhythmic text, The Very Busy Spider becomes an experience to touch, to see, and to hear.

"A beautifully executed work for the very young that satisfies the needs of both visually handicapped and sighted children without losing its artistic integrity."
— The Horn Book , starred review

"Both sighted and blind children will follow the action with ease . . . Visually and verbally, this is a winner."
— Booklist , starred review.

32 pages, Board book

First published March 6, 1985

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About the author

Eric Carle

794 books1,956 followers
Eric Carle was a children's book author and illustrator, most famous for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into over 30 languages. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 71 million copies of his books have sold around the world.

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5 stars
19,619 (49%)
4 stars
11,136 (28%)
3 stars
7,039 (17%)
2 stars
1,294 (3%)
1 star
541 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 833 reviews
Profile Image for Tim.
476 reviews610 followers
September 22, 2021
Welcome back to another edition of Tim really doesn't get the love for Eric Carle. I'm your host Tim.

A spider spins a web that grows each page. An animal attempts to seduce it away on the opposite page while the spider continues to be (dare I say it?) very busy. Eventually the web is done and it catches the fly.

Also, the web sticks out so you can feel it on the page.

That's it. That's the book. It's the usual Carle imagery, the gimmick that a lot of his work tries to contain and the repetitive back and forth that he seems to favor. Now I know I've said it in the past, but it is worth saying again, repetition does help children (especially young children) grasp concepts. I'm not faulting him for that. I'm faulting him for the lazy way in which it is so often handled and a book where about half of the pages are the exact same sentence seems a touch too lazy for me.

Here's the weird thing… I don't actually dislike this one. No, it's not a book I love by any means (I really, really don't understand the cult of Carle that seems so strong in children's literature) but I actually give the gimmick here some points and I like the unsaid message about working hard on your goals. I also like from an imagery standpoint seeing the web grow each page.

Rather comically though, as this is one of the few Carle books I don't dislike, it's one my daughter doesn't care for at all… this is my review though and she can give her own one star review later. 3/5 stars.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,870 reviews31.2k followers
June 18, 2020
I love the art style for this Eric Carle beginning book about spiders. It looks like he used construction paper to collage the pictures. The colors are so happy and bright.

A spider is busy working. All the animals want to hang out with her, but she is so busy she doesn't even speak to them to tell them she is busy. She is sort of rude. I guess that's the nature of spiders. The animals are so cute.

Young readers should love this.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
January 16, 2020
I'm not sure exactly what it is about this book, but my kids loved it! I picked it for my younger son who is not quite two, but my three-year-old was also very enthusiastic about it. I had to read it four times in a row. It's about animal noises and a spider that keeps on building her web and ignoring the mooing baaing neighing raucous around her. I'm not sure what the message is (don't talk to anyone and you'll be more productive? Lol) but that spider makes herself one fine web!
Profile Image for Russell.
420 reviews10 followers
June 5, 2014
One of the better murder stories I've read in some time. Entertainingly illustrated, with a cast of memorable characters that draw you further into the tale. Like in Prince of Thorns, you find yourself rooting for the villain by the end, tracing your finger along their beautiful instrument of death.
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,224 followers
August 6, 2017
One of my favorites in the series!
Such a busy spider it was! Adorable execution!
Profile Image for Katharine.
36 reviews3 followers
September 19, 2012
"The Very Busy Spider" is about a spider that spends all day spinning her web. A variety of different farm animals approach her and ask if she wanted to go do something with them that they enjoy doing. Each time, the spider didn't answer because she was busy spinning her web. In the end, after she finishes her web, she catches and fly and an owl asks who made this beautiful web. But, again, the spider didn't answer because she fell asleep, as it had been a very long day spinning her web. I think this story shows children that determination is a good thing to have. The spider was determined to finish her web and not be distracted by running off with the different farm animals. Her hard work paid off, because at night, she had caught a fly and was ready for bed.

Learning Experience:
In small groups, have pieces of white yarn pre cut on the table, and construction paper with a circle drawn on it. Have the children glue the yarn around the circle and make their very own unique spider web. Then when they are finished, glue a picture of a fly on it, to show their hard work paid off.
Profile Image for Rod Brown.
5,277 reviews176 followers
March 12, 2023
#1465 in our old book database. Rated: Good

A very focused spider stays on task as a series of farm animals invite her to join them in their favorite pastimes. The repetition is a little much but it pays off in the end for the reader and the spider, and there are plenty of fun animal sounds as well as textured pages to keep us engaged along the way to the inevitable and ghastly conclusion.
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,230 reviews398 followers
December 22, 2019
Both my children, when small, really enjoyed this story of a spider making it's web. I waiver between 3 or 4 stars for this, it's nice meeting all the animals and they loved the way the web is slightly raised so you can feel it but it is very repetitive to read aloud. They loved it but I grew to really dislike reading this one!
Profile Image for Hannah Notess.
Author 5 books71 followers
November 4, 2017
An important message about work-life balance for web developers.

If you develop webs all day and don’t take breaks to socialize you will go to bed not having had any social interaction. Don’t do this!
Profile Image for Yousra .
693 reviews1,234 followers
January 25, 2021
أقرأ هذه القصة لإبني الأصغر وأقول في نفسي ماذا لو كان الطفلان الكبيران في دأب تلك العنكبوت؟ يا سلام لو تصبح أنت مثلها!

أنثى العنكبوت بطلة قصتنا هي حشرة شديدة الدأب ودائمة التركيز ... طوحتها الرياح يوما لتجد نفسها على سور مزرعة بعيدا عن بيتها الأول ... فبدأت العنكبوت بغزل شبكتها ... تتوافد عليها الحيوانات جميعا ... فالحصان يسأل إن كانت تريد نزهة على ظهره ... والبقرة تسألها إن كانت تريد أكل العشب معها ... والخروف يتساءل إن كانت تريد الجري معه في الحقل ... والمعزة تسألها إن كانت تريد أن تشاركها القفز على الصخور ... والخنزير يسألها عن التمرغ في الطين ... والكلب يسألها لو تحب أن تطارد القطة معه ... والقطة تتساءل لو أنها تحب أن تغفو قليلا مثلها ... والبطة تسألها إن كانت تريد السباحة ... وأخيرا فالديك يسألها: "ألا تريدين اصطياد ذبابة؟" ... وفي أثناء كل ذلك تكون قد انهت غزل بيتها واصطياد الذبابة التي كانت تطير طوال الوقت حول الحيوانات التي تكلمها مطمئنة أن العنكبوت مشغولة ... لقد الازمت الصمت والهدوء ولم تتشتت حتى انتهت من صنع بيتها واقتنصت الذبابة وأكلتها ...في المساء والحيوانات نيام صحت البومة لتمارس حياتها ورأت الشبكة فتحضرت للحديث (الرغي) مع العنكبوت بالسؤال عن الشبكة ومن صنعها ولكن العنكبوت كانت قد غطت في نوم عميق

يحب ابني الأصغر الكاتب كثيرا ويميز كتبه من بين ألف كتاب ... يحبها بالعربية أو الانجليزية أو أي لغة نستكيع قرائتها😅😁 ويوقعني هذا في المشاكل أحيانا فهو يريدها بغض النظر عن أسعارها وأنا صراحة أعلم أن في كل كتاب منها متعة وعلم وتسلية وضحك كثير

هذا الكتاب كان إصدار خاص وهذا من حسن حظنا ولم أكن أعلم قبل الشراء فالكتاب من الكارتون بالكامل ... شبكة العنكبوت بارزة فهي مرسومة يدويا بمحدد ألوان الزجاج والسيراميك الذهبي (ريليف) فيحب لمسه كثيرا

الكتاب به جملة تتكرر مع كل صفحة
but she was very busy spinning her web
وأحب التكرار في كتب إريك كارل فهو يعلم الأطفال

حقيقة كنت مبهورة بثبات العنكبوت وتركيزها وعدم تأثرها بالمشتتات ولا المغريات فكما كانت هناك اقتراحات غير مجدية ولا معقولة كانت هناك اقتراحات تحمل وعودا باللعب والراحة ولكم تمنيت أن يركز أطفالي على أعمالهم فينتهون منها باتقان ويحصلون على ما يريدونه من راحة بعدها! أذكر أنني كنت سريعة التأثر فعلا بما يدور حولي خاصة في الامتحانات إلى أن طورت مهارة التجاهل ... سافرت أختي معي مرة إلى المصيف مع والدينا وكان معي ابنائي ومعها ابنائها ووجدتني اقرأ وحولي مهرجان من الصراخ والتنطيط واللعب والضحك والبكاء ... أطفالي وأطفالها معا ... خمسة أطفال في الغرفة فاندهشت جدا ... قلت لها طورت مهارة التجاهل طالما الأطفال بخير وهكذا استطيع الطبخ والقراءة والتلوين وأعمال التريكو ولضم الخرز وصناعة الاكسسوارات التي ألبسها 😅😁😁

الكتاب مناسب لسن +4
Profile Image for donna backshall.
641 reviews176 followers
October 8, 2019
Anything by Eric Carle will certainly be a visually awe-inspiring work, but this book also has texture, which makes it even more engaging for little ones.

The basic message is: Introverts thrive in the business of web development. If you keep your eye on the prize, and don't let yourself get distracted with all things social, you'll succeed. (And be pretty lonely, but we don't quite go there in here)
Profile Image for Alysia Abbott.
Author 5 books126 followers
July 14, 2014
It was a warm evening so we opened all the windows for dinner and ate shredded carrots, mashed potatoes, and burgers in the low light. A spirited discussion followed about The Very Busy Spider (Eric Carle), which Finn had motioned for me to read (a new favorite of his). Annabel asserts the book has no real point. I say it's all about the spider's industry. While all the other animals want to goof off (napping cat, mud-rolling pig, rock-jumping goat) the spider is the only community member who works steadily to build something -- a web, which in trapping flies betters society for all. Annabel says catching one fly is not all that and we agree to disagree.
Profile Image for Mandy.
320 reviews321 followers
August 10, 2015
One of my favorite children's books!
Profile Image for Melanie Kilsby.
Author 2 books273 followers
May 31, 2017
Eric Carle is a classic to me and I love almost all of them!!!
Thankfully, my kids do too :D
Profile Image for Katie.
372 reviews5 followers
January 26, 2022
From an adult perspective it's rather irking that the spider never answers anyone although I respect her commitment to getting things done. It just hits a little too close to home I guess. From a child's perspective this is mostly about animal sounds of which there are many books that are more enjoyable for us.
Profile Image for Judy.
3,086 reviews54 followers
April 11, 2019
rating: 3.5

The embossed "silky" thread of the spider that the kids can trace with their fingers lets them have an active role in the story telling. They like touching the fly and the spider (sometimes the kids even close their eyes while feeling them), and they like to provide the animals sounds. It's fun when we can read a book together. Depending on the child, I may or may not comment on the fate of the fly. (One of the kids liked the fly better than the spider, so we never said much about the purpose of the spider until he'd out-grown this book.)
Profile Image for June.
16 reviews
January 10, 2009
Another great book for identifying animals and imitating their sounds. The spider thread is lightly embossed on each page, allowing a fine texture that can be felt with the fingertips. This makes it very interesting to "feel" the spider web develop on each consecutive page. The tiny size of this book makes it perfect as a bring along anywhere.
Profile Image for Anna.
936 reviews105 followers
May 17, 2009
Wow, these illustrations are awesome! My sister pointed this book out to me in the library -- I'm embarrassed to say I had never heard of it. It's a really cute story to read to kids to demonstrate the importance of hard work and to introduce various kinds of animals. I like that you can actually touch the pages and you'll feel the spider's web. Very nice touch!
Profile Image for Shawn Deal.
Author 9 books15 followers
March 30, 2017
Here is a very cute story about a spider building her web and all her friends trying to invite her to do other things. Done in water colors, this is a wonderfully bright book.
Profile Image for Lauren.
113 reviews
November 30, 2017
I read this book to a reception class the other day and then brought it for my boys! Read it to them today and they loved it! Good one for teaching Little’s farm animal sounds :)
Profile Image for Louise.
273 reviews8 followers
May 12, 2020
Home school reception book of the week.
Profile Image for Vy Nguyen.
4 reviews4 followers
October 4, 2017
Overall, the book is an educational resource that encourages perseverance and hard work.

Interestingly, the most developed character is an inanimate object: The web.

Throughout the story the reader senses the web's constant transformation. In the end, it's almost like the web is 3D and you can literally feel it with your finger tips.

Unfortunately, all other characters were fairly flat. They were only briefly introduced and never heard from again. I often wonder what happened to the Cow... I think of her always, every time I come across a Chick-fil-A board or Shamrock Farms strawberry milk.

I also feel like some characters were given unfair stereotypes. Cats are known to be excellent hunters. Here, they are portrayed solely as lazy napaholics. Dogs say more than just "woof". In many regions they "ruff ruff" or "bark bark" or even on fancy occasions "bow wow". Will still purchase sequel if written.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
75 reviews
March 15, 2018
Cute story. The textured webs are fun to watch. This is a story about several things. #1. A spider who is so busy building her web that she has no time to talk to anyone. #2. Its a story about hard work paying off, and eventually getting a lovely rest at the end of a long day. #3. It teaches young children animal sounds, as well as animal behaviors. We learn that spiders build webs to catch flies in among other things.
51 reviews1 follower
October 30, 2020
A wonderful tale of a very bust spider who spins her web all day ready to rest in her new home at night!

I think this book would be a great treat for children, especially shared reading in KS1. There is a lot of repetition and children can join in with the reading of the story as well as make all the noises of the animals that visit the spider throughout the day!

A great book with lots of opportunities for children to get involved!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 833 reviews

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