Phillis Gershator







About me



spider jacket

in the

by Phillis Gershator

Little Bell Caribbean, 2017

*  Governor's Summer Reading Challenge, U.S. Virgin Islands, 2017

From the book jacket:

A small spider happily looks out from a rooftop gutter,
admiring the fluffy clouds passing overhead,
but the clouds he sees are RAIN clouds.
What should a little creature like him do in the rain?
Iguanas, bats, birds, mongooses, butterflies, and bees all
give the spider good advice. But itís too late.
Down comes the rain and washes the poor spider outĖĖ
down the waterspout and into a pond.

spider on roof

What will happen to our spider? Will he survive?
If he does, will he return to his old ways,
or will he try something new?

A little about the book:

Since some of my favorite books are
stories exploring the natural world, my mother said I should write a book about animals in the rain. Together we wrote verses, but the story didn't take off. Years went by. Then I thought, This story needs a hero, but who? I know! The Eensy Weensy Spider! So I rewrote the story, using the pattern of another rhyme, also featuring a spider: "Little Miss Muffet." And now I hope Summer Reading Program participants will get a good head start on reading, rhyme, and science with our little spider and its friends, and then read five or more other books this summer, rain or shine!

Ten things to do and talk about:

1) Count the creatures in the rain, starting with ONE spider and TWO iguanas. How many ducks? How many tadpoles plus frogs?

2) Sing "The Eensy Weensy Spider" and read the Mother Goose rhyme "Little Miss Muffet." How do they end? Does this spider story have a different ending?

3) Can you think of new endings for other story songs and rhymes, like "Humpty Dumpty" or "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep"?

Find five fantastic fun facts about each creature in this book in non-fiction books and science sites online.

Starting with Spider, here's one fantastic fact: spider's egg cases contain hundreds of eggs. This is a photo of a spider's egg case (or "sac"). Each dot is a baby spider, right after hatching. They're clinging to the spider web on my car!

spider babies

Another fact: spider silk is stronger and lighter and stretchier than just about any man made material.

And one more: did you know that spiders in the house can be helpful, if you don't mind having a few spider webs around, because they trap and eat pesty insects like mosquitoes, flies, and roaches.

Furry animals can shake rain water off their fur. Birds oil their feathers so water slides off. Insects canít fly with wet wings so they hide where it's dry. What about some other little creatures, such as snails and turtles and earthworms? What do they do in the rain?

6) Add more verses to Spider in the Rain. What would other creatures (big or small) tell the spider to do when it rains?

Rain is a source of fresh water. Why do plants and animals need fresh water?

8) Find a diagram or chart of the water cycle. Here are two good ones online:



9) What would our island look like if it never rained? Draw a before and after rain picture.

10) Read other spider stories.
Funny picture books starring spiders include Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and The Eensy Weensy Spider by Mary Ann Hoberman. There are lots of great stories about the most famous Afro-Caribbean spider: ANANSI. My favorite is Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott. Another famous spider is Charlotte in the classic book Charlotte's Web by E. B. White.

If you have a favorite spider story, let me know, and I'll add it to the list!