The Spider and the Fly (DiTerlizzi book)

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The Spider and the Fly
The Spider and the Fly cover.jpg
The cover art of The Spider and the Fly
AuthorMary Howitt
IllustratorTony DiTerlizzi
CountryUnited States
PublisherSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date
October 1, 2002
Media typePrint

The Spider and the Fly is a picture book published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 1, 2002. The author and illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi, based this book on a poem by Mary Howitt originally written in 1829. The Spider and the Fly became a Caldecott Honor book in 2003.[1]


The Spider and the Fly presents the 1829 poem of the same name, composed by Mary Howitt, as a picture book, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. The book was published in 2002 by Simon & Schuster book for Young Readers. The book contains 40 pages and is intended for children ages 5 and up. The plot is conveyed by a series of monochrome drawings, which set the events around the eponymous spider's home.

Plot summary[edit]

The poem describes a spider's ultimately successful attempts to entice a fly into her home, apparently with iniquitous motive.

The Fly, initially hesitant, is eventually won over by flattery; "'Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!'", and is presumably eaten by the Spider.

Characters and themes[edit]

As the title suggests, the main characters are a Spider and a Fly. The illustrator also incorporates as images ghosts of the Spider's past victims.

The book retains the original poem's function as a cautionary tale, warning the reader against vanity as a quality readily manipulable by others for nefarious purposes.

Critical reception[edit]

The Spider and the Fly met with critical acclaim. Publishers Weekly praised it as a "a visual treat", and for its appeal to "young sophisticates and kids alike". The New York Times also approved, believing it able to "explicate the metaphor", yet not "diminish [young readers'] pleasure in the grisly doings one bit."



  1. ^ "2003 Caldecott Medal and Honor Books". ALA American Library Association. Retrieved November 12, 2017.