Written and photographed by Nic Bishop
Scholastic Nonfiction, 2007
Ever since this book began winning awards left and right, I knew I wanted to read it. I love interesting, beautiful nonfiction books. This book fits both of those descriptions. Perhaps I’ve lived in a hole, but this is the only book that I know of that I’ve read by Nic Bishop. I don’t think I have EVER seen a book with pictures as exquisitely detailed and fascinating as the photos in this book.
The book is all about spiders. It gives the basics about spiders: body parts, characteristics, etc. You know, all of those basic things I learned about spiders from E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web. However, Nic Bishop introduces readers to spiders and facts about spiders that I have never heard of. The text is not overly simple, but each spread is also not covered with heavy text. This is a book that kids will pick up, read and stare in awe at the pictures. It contains about a paragraph on each page about spiders. An entire page is a magnified picture of a spider. We see spiders’ eyes, hairs, and body parts up close and personal. Each picture is accompanied by captions about that specific spider.
The color layout is beautiful too. Each page with text has a colored background that coordinates with the colors in the photograph. It’s not a visually busy book. It’s simply laid out, but the pictures are anything but simple. Bishop is a master at photographing these hard-to-spot arachnids. In fact, in the back of the book he writes an author’s note about how he photographed the spiders. In some cases it was quite complicated.