HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Miss Spider’s New Car
Author and Illustrator: David Kirk
Publisher: Cartwheel Books, republished in 2006
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Kirk, David. Miss Spider’s New Car (published in 1997 by Scholastic, Inc.). David Kirk introduced Miss Spider in Miss Spider’s Tea Party (Scholastic, 1994). I don’t remember whether we read it or not, but everyone says that the bold, bright colors are excellent, and almost everyone seems to agree that it is a charming book, except for one person who thought that it is telling children that staying away from a known danger is just prejudice (though based on what I’ve read, I wouldn’t necessarily interpret it this way). We did read the second adventure, Miss Spider’s Wedding (Scholastic, 1995). Some people loved it while others hated it. Those who hated it felt that the theme of the story is far too adult for the target age group with both violence and romantic innuendo in which the evil character Spiderus Reeves threatens to eat Miss Spider’s boyfriend Holley and having taken him out of the way will woo Miss Spider and get her in “the mood.” I do remember the picture of Spiderus smoking a cigarette, which I didn’t like, but I guess that we just didn’t notice some of the other things. Our younger son Jeremy was more like six or seven rather than four or five when we checked the books out of our library.
However, I recall that we didn’t care as much for the wedding book as we did the third one, Miss Spider’s New Car, in which Miss Spider, after receiving an invitation to tea from her mother, goes with her husband Holley to Mantis Motors and shops for a new car. We read the original hardcover edition which came out in 1997. The story is now available in the form of an early reader. Even here, someone complained that the used car salesman makes Miss Spider frown as he helps her into the new car because she looks down at his hand on her rear end. I guess that I missed this one too. I will say that sometimes people “see things” that “aren’t there.” What may appear to one person as a vulgar gesture may look to others like simply a helping hand. Other books in the Miss Spider series include Miss Spider’s ABC Book (1998), Little Miss Spider (1999), Little Miss Spider at Sunnypatch School (2000), Little Miss Spider’s Christmas Wish (2001), Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids (2004), Miss Spider’s Listening Walk (2005), Miss Spider Dashing through the Snow (2005), and Miss Spider’s Bedtime Story (2006). Many of these were collected in a Miss Spider Treasury (2006).