The Spider and the Fly 10th Anniversary Edition
based on the classic 1829 poem by Mary Howitt
illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
Simon & Shuster (August 2012)
Ages 6 and up
It's true, I was reading-deprived as a child; however, not until I read the 10th anniversary edition of Mary Howitt's 1829 poem, illustrated Tony DiTerlizzi, did I realize just what an abomination that was. For crying out loud...this little masterpiece has been around since 1829? Of course, maybe if DiTerlizzi had been there to illustrate it sooner, there's a good chance we would have crossed paths. Thankfully, a 10th anniversary edition just came out and I was ready for it.
In this thinly veiled morality tale about the perils of vanity, self-absorbed little Fly
is courted by silver-tongued master manipulator, Spider, who preys on
Fly's superficiality. Spider plies Fly with fanciful promises and compliments, slowly drawing both Fly and reader into his web. Meanwhile, the illustrations tell the real tale as the ghostly apparitions of
past victims try to warn her away (a really lovely touch).
DiTerlizzi has created a delicious visual feast with classic Hollywood horror film flair. I do believe this is the first Gothic-style picture book I've come across, and if that's not already a thriving genre, it should be. (Gris Grimly has illustrated some rhyming collections of macabre, but I can't think off the top of my head of a picture book with this sort of vintage horror quality to it.)
A big bonus in this 10th Anniversary edition is the movie poster printed on the inside of the dust jacket: