David Kirk’s Miss Spider has made the big time since she first hit the bookshelves in 1994, with a slew of books, an animated series starring Kristin Davis as the voice of Miss Spider (Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends), and a video game. Kirk was a toymaker before becoming a children’s author, and was inspired by his bug-loving daughter Violet to write about bugs.
Kirk’s illustrations are crystal clear and full of bright colors and lively characters. Miss Spider’s Tea Party is the perfect picture book because it’s light on text and heavy on pictures. I love reading this book out loud to my 4-year-old son, Lucas, because it brings out the inner ham in me. I get to gasp like the beetles that run away and sob like Miss Spider into her tea towel when she realizes her potential friends have “all dashed off!”
Miss Spider is lonely and wishes for nothing more than for her table to be filled with hot tea, plenty of tea cakes, and good friends. Only problem is, the other bugs fear they might be the main course.
The story begins with “One lonely spider wished to play,” and progresses from there as a number of fellow insects are suspicious of the spider’s intentions and flee for their lives. One day she spies a wet, frightened moth and is able to demonstrate her kindness when she dries him off and sends him on his way. The moth spreads the word, and pretty soon Miss Spider has all the friends she needs. The message of Miss Spider’s Tea Party is this: Everyone deserves a chance to show his or her true colors.
Miss Spider's ABC is a companion book. If you have children ready to learn their numbers and letters and who also love bugs, these books will serve as fun learning tools.
Kirk isn’t just into bugs—he has written books outside the Miss Spider series. He is also the author of the adorable Biddle books, which include Little Mouse, Biddle Mouse; Little Pig, Biddle Pig; Little Bunny, Biddle Bunny; and Little Bird, Biddle Bird. My favorite of the series is Little Mouse, Biddle Mouse. It’s the story of a greedy little mouse who is sent on a mission to find food for his family, but ends up scarfing it all down until his belly pops out.