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SILK AND VENOM: Searching For a Dangerous Spider

Author: Kathryn Lasky

Illustrator: Christopher Knight

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Publisher: Candlewick,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Accompany arachnologist (spider scientist) Greta Binford on an expedition to the Dominican Republic to find a deadly spider (Loxosceles taino) whose venom may hold in its DNA the answer to many scientific questions. The trip is chronicled in a series of color photos by Christopher Knight and the narrative is supplied by Kathryn Lasky. This is a nonfiction book for transitional and independent readers.

Type of Reading: independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 to 13

Interest Level: 8 to 12

Reading Level: 6.9

Age of Child: Read and shared with children nine years old.

Young Reader Reaction: I let my neighbor’s daughter look at this book. She wasn’t too interested in spiders but she showed it to some boys she knows and they loved it.

Adult Reader Reaction: The photography and information in this book are very good. I found the book fascinating. This is enjoyable for reading and would also be valuable for school research projects.

Pros: This is a photo-illustrated book that is good for home and classroom use.

Cons: The only problem here is that a smaller child might be a little afraid or leery of the photography and close-ups.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This book has a lot of different uses, not just learning about spiders.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE RAINBOW WEB (Webs to Whales Nature Tales)   ANIMALS (Navigator Series)   THE FROG SCIENTIST

Educational Themes: Because this is a book you can read from front to back or look at individual pages, there are lots of ways to use it. For geography, you can look more closely at the Dominican Republic; for biology spiders and their habitat; for art - nature photography.

Notes: Bob Walch, Monterey, California, sent us this review. Bob's reviews appear in the Salinas Californian, Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, Aptos Times, Ride/Western Times and Coast Views Magazine. His online reviews can be found at MyShelf, Roundtable Reviews, Parent Click, Midwest Book Review, and I Love a Mystery.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - animals, nature, picture book, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: June 2011

Other Reviews:


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