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The Spider and the Fly

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  9,272 ratings  ·  750 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
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Christie Hendrix The main theme of this poem is a warning about stranger danger and not falling for the flattery words.
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  9,272 ratings  ·  750 reviews

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Mary Howitt lived back in the 1800s and she wrote many stories like this classic in my hands. Tony DiTerlizzi, who illustrated the Spiderwick chronicles, did the fabulous and amazing artwork. He used Edward Gorey, Chaz Addams and Arthur Rackham as his inspiration and I can see that in the art. I know because he tells us so in the end. I think there is also a good dose of Tim Burton thrown in here and I'm sure Tim was influenced by these same artists too.

The moral of this chilling tale is not to
Jan 18, 2010 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
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly.

This cautionary tale dating back to 1829 still resonates today, the cunning spider uses all his charm to try and seduce his pray into his trap.
The first line is so iconic and really sets up the battle of wills in this creepy poem.

The timeless rhyme is beautifully told with sinisterly dark illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi.
The spiders cruel intentions are plan to see, whilst the poor fly is perfectly depicted as young and innocent.
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
Oct 30, 2009 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
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) 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
Nov 06, 2010 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
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING illustrations!
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Be warned - everything about this one is dark and creepy.
Tanya W
Oct 28, 2011 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.
Oct 21, 2014 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! ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Spooky Picture-Books for Children
Taking the famous English children's poem, "The Spider and the Fly," as his text, talented American artist Tony DiTerlizzi creates an immensely engaging picture-book, one which was chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book in 2003. The poem itself tells the tale of a cunning spider who manages to eventually capture his prey, using a judicious mixture of flattery and tempting offers of refreshment and rest. The artwork, created using gouache and pencil and reproduced in silver and black duotone, with grap ...more
S. J.
Aug 20, 2012 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 ac
Aug 31, 2010 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
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, fantasy
“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
Alice Bennett
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ks1, poetry
This is a brilliant narrative poem for children to enjoy, I listened to it on YouTube and it's the perfect poem for children to learn and perform. The language and tone is clever because it's really clear what sort of characters the Spider and the Fly are. We would investigate the poet's use of rhyme and how it draws the reader into the poem, much like the Fly is drawn into the Spider's web.

Children could experiment with voices and pitch to bring the characters to life. We could also use music
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story was nice and not surprising at all regarding the topic. I enjoyed the rhymes and the old fashioned atmosphere. What particularly stood out for me was the art, the drawings were lovely and the black and white colors mixed with the clothes and expressions conveyed nicely the gothic tone of the story.
Oct 19, 2015 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!!!!
Sep 02, 2008 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. ...more
Mar 30, 2015 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 24, 2011 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
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
Mar 12, 2013 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
Michelle B
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
Dec 02, 2008 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
Dec 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
May 27, 2014 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
Fi's Journey
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fairy-tales
The Spider and the Fly - a classic that was first written in the 1828's by Mary Howitt, which has been here reprinted and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi.

I first wanted to read it because of Tony DiTerlizzi, as he has become one of my favourite Illustrator's, and as well of the good old style of dark fairy-tales.

I love Tony's illustrations and thought the writing is short but yet right to the point of the story. I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves fairy-tales and creepy things.
Mar 18, 2008 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:
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Mary Howitt (12 March 1799 – 30 January 1888) was an English poet, and author of the famous poem The Spider and the Fly.

She was born Mary Botham at Coleford, in Gloucestershire, the temporary residence of her parents, while her father, Samuel Botham, a prosperous Quaker of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, was looking after some mining property. Samuel had married his wife Ann in South Wales in 1796, when

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447 likes · 281 comments
“Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly” 28 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…