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Diary of a Spider

Last updated Monday, January 29, 2007

Author: Doreen Cronin
Illustrator: Harry Bliss
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0060001534
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2007

Synopsis: (From School Library Journal) Children who enjoyed Diary of a Worm (HarperCollins, 2003) will be enchanted by this artistic team's latest collaboration. This time, Spider is the star. Through his humorous diary entries, readers learn about typical events in the life of a young spider. When Spider's mom tells him he's getting too big for his skin, he molts. Fly's feelings are hurt by a thoughtless comment from Daddy Longlegs, and Spider tries to help. He is concerned that he will have to eat leaves and rotten tomatoes when he has a sleepover with Worm. Spider's school doesn't have fire drills; it has vacuum drills (…vacuums eat spiderwebs and are very, very dangerous). Grampa tells him that spider-fly relations have improved over the years and shares the secret of long life–don't fall asleep in shoes. The amusing pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons, complete with funny asides in dialogue balloons, expand the sublime silliness of some of the scenarios.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a diary? Have you ever written a diary? Do you know of anyone who has a diary?
•  What kinds of things do people write in diaries? What might a spider write about in his or her diary?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Are spiders and flies usually friends? Why or why not?
•  What kind of things does Spider like to do with Fly, Worm, and Worm's sister. What kinds of things do you like to do with your friends and/or brothers/sisters?
•  Spider learned what to do in an emergency (when he hears a vacuum cleaner). What do you do in an emergency (fire, earthquake etc...)?
•  When Spider’s mom said he was getting too big for his own skin, he molted. What does 'molted’ mean? Do humans molt? Do other animals molt? (Snakes and some birds do)
•  Spider’s grandpa traveled to France. Have you traveled anywhere? Where? How did you get there?
•  Are you friends with your grandparents? What kinds of things do you do with your grandparents?
•  Spider writes in his diary of thing that scare him and things that he scares. What kind of things are scared of you? What things are you scared of?

Craft ideas:
•  Make your own diary. Draw pictures of things you like to do with your friends, trips you have taken with your family, plans that you have in the future, or things you are scared of.
•  Make a postcard from you to your friend or family member. Draw a place you have visited or want to visit and a message to your friend or family.
•  Make a spider out of construction paper. Take a piece of construction paper and fold in half so it's as deep as possible. On the folded side, trace the arc in the middle with the straight edge against the fold. Using the circles, trace one circle so it makes a half-circle at one end of the arc you drew and a smaller ½ circle at the other end. Place your hand in the arc and trace your fingers onto the construction paper. Cut out the shape. Fold the legs (your fingers) down so your spider can stand.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!