“It fell from the sky on a Thursday,” and all the insects in the garden immediately agreed it was magnificent. Spider claimed it with a web and built a grand exhibit called WonderVille to show it off. Tickets started at a reasonable one leaf apiece, but as the lines grew longer, the greedy spider began raising the prices until no one came. Luckily, the stars appeared to share their wisdom that beauty should be enjoyed by all, and Spider was a changed arachnid. The Fan brothers’ spectacularly detailed graphite work is as sumptuous and painstakingly rendered as always, and they use both shadow and light and limited pops of stunning color to enhance their storytelling in a remarkable way. The book is almost entirely black and white, full of unique characters (dung beetles, stick insects, stink bugs, and Luna moths, anthropomorphized by the occasional jaunty top hat or fedora) as photo-realistic as the dandelions and toadstools around them. The only color used is, very deliberately, in the item that fell (a vintage swirl marble), leaves of money, and the expanded WonderVille at the end, which lends the book a lovely Wizard of Oz feeling. The story is elegantly told with clear anti-consumerist, anti-greed messaging, and while the spider is a bit alarming-looking, much can be forgiven for its dapper bow tie. — Becca Worthington
Copyright 2021 Booklist, LLC Used with Permission
PreS-Gr 3--With intricate graphite illustrations, the Fan brothers deliver a lovely story about how the creatures in a garden react when an unknown marble-like object falls from the sky. But these creatures do not panic like Chicken Little. How does it taste? Will it hatch if they keep it warm enough? Where did it come from? They are intrigued by the pop of color in their midst. A crafty spider in a top hat takes ownership of the object and builds an amusement park to showcase the wonder from the sky. The adorable spider takes readers on a journey through capitalism as well as supply and demand. Will anyone come to see the wonder if the prices are too steep? What will happen if the object's owner comes to claim it? The book works well for library and classroom read-alouds. It can also be used in classroom connections for perspective, inference, and cause and effect. VERDICT A whimsical story of what happens when an everyday item is suddenly seen through new eyes. A welcome addition to public, school, and classroom libraries serving young children.--Monisha Blair, Glasgow M. S., Alexandria, VACopyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
This wonderfully illustrated fable about the consequences of greed opens as a group of insects spy a mysterious object lying in the grass, which "fell from the sky on a Thursday." Readers see that it's a sumptuously hued glass marble, but the insects, several of which sport dapper hats, are baffled. "It is not of earthly origins," says wise Grasshopper. A large, bold spider with four eyes and a bow tie appropriates the marble as the centerpiece of an outdoor amusement venue, charging admission and jacking up the price to earn piles of leaf currency--until customers stop coming. Largely black-and-white spreads by the Fan Brothers (The Antlered Ship), rendered digitally and in graphite, offer mesmerizing crispness and definition. The varied textures captured, from delicate dandelion heads to the glow of fireflies and the glossy reflective surface of the marble itself, give readers an entrée into the insects' miniature world, and the sense that they are privy to its secrets and movements as the insects learn how to make wonder available to all. Ages 4-8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Sept.)Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.