Jennifer Owings Dewey Once I Knew a Spider

ISBN 13: 9780802787002

Once I Knew a Spider

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9780802787002: Once I Knew a Spider
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One day a spider appeared on the window ledge outside the glass. Right away she began to spin a web.

Thus begins an inspiring true story―a story of an expectant mother who develops an unexpected relationship with the spider that makes a home outside her window. As the summer and the mother's pregnancy progress, the spider is beginning its own circle of life. From its first graceful web, to its creation of a delicate egg sac, the spider lives through the fall season, and what should be the end of its life. But by a small miracle of nature, the orb weaver endures the snow and the winter, and stays with her eggs until spring.

This gentle story with strikingly detailed illustrations reveals the exceptional magic in the everyday world, and how it can touch our lives. The parallel stories of the human mother and the spider show how stopping to observe nature can allow you to witness everyday miracles. Additional in-depth information on spiders is included in an afterword.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Owings Dewey has written and/or illustrated forty-five books for children. Her love of the wilderness has led her to focus on creating books on natural history. Among her award-winning titles are Wildlife Rescue: The Work of Kathleen Ramsay and Mud Matters: Stories from a Mud Lover. A mother of four grown children, and grandmother of four, she teaches drawing and writing to teenagers in her hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jean Cassels has illustrated more than fifty natural history books for children, but she also has a talent for more whimsical images of birds and beasts and bugs wearing all the latest fashions, as seen in The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson. The mother of two grown sons, she lives with her husband in New Orleans, Louisiana.

From Publishers Weekly:

An unlikely bond between a woman pregnant with her first child and an orb weaver spider that spins a web and egg sac in the arched window of the woman's adobe-style home forms in Dewey's (Antarctic Journal) eloquent meditation on the cycle of life. The muted tones of Cassels's (Whinny of the Wild Horses) austere interiors and the detailed paintings of the spider's behavior complement the calm, contemplative tone of the journal-like text. A triptych of window views, for instance, chronicles the spider weaving her web; another trio of vignettes shows the spider mounting a protective outer covering for her eggs. "You've done a wonderful job," the woman tells the yellow-and-black spider upon the completion of its eggs' shelter, as she caresses her own bulging stomach. The woman's connection to the spider deepens after the birth of her child ("I held the baby up... so the spider might have a good look"), and she watches as the spider and sac tenaciously survive the winter in "a tiny snow cave." The ending (which may remind some youngsters of Charlotte's Web) is, of course, bittersweet but the spider leaves behind a web-spinning brood. Dewey never anthropomorphizes the arachnid, yet the parallel between the two mothers yields a surprising poignancy. Cassels's compositions similarly connect their shared experience even the baby's spring-green shirt echoes the color of the foliage behind the web. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Jennifer Owings Dewey
Published by Walker Childrens (2002)
ISBN 10: 0802787002 ISBN 13: 9780802787002
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Jennifer Owings Dewey, Jean Cassels (Illustrator)
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ISBN 10: 0802787002 ISBN 13: 9780802787002
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