Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Today's read... A Spider Named Itsy by Steve Light

Today's read...well, more the spider on today's read...grabbed my attention. I don't know what it is about the artwork, but that spider promises potential fun and adventure. I've had this one sitting in my to-read pile for almost a couple of months, and my fingers have been itching to grab it up and take a peek. But I really try not to play favorites and let my curiosity get the better of me (life as a reviewer is SO hard!) Yeah, you can roll your eyes at that statement.

Anyway, I'm highly suspecting that this one will take a twist on the well-known children's song/rhyme. So, let's see how it does.

(After thoughts: I was extremely on the fence about putting this one on my possible favorites of 2023 list because I enjoyed it so much and just decided to give in and put it there. Yep, this one could be a favorite of 2023)

by Steve Light
Candlewick Press
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8


Why did Itsy Bitsy make his famous journey? With a dose of warmth and whimsy, Steve Light's remarkable, intricate artwork spins a backstory of unexpected friendship.

Itsy Bitsy sits at home,
drinking tea, all alone . . .

Everyone knows the rhyme "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." We know about the climb up the waterspout, the washout, the return of the sun, and the determined climb back up the spout--again. Generations of children have sung this beloved verse and mastered its accompanying twisty finger play. But what sent the tiny spider on his upward trek to begin with? What happened along the way--and where is Itsy now? Steve Light--with his meticulously rendered, highly detailed pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations and an endearing cast of insect characters--riffs on a classic as he offers some surprising answers, ushering us into a charming tale of perseverance, kindness, and community. And it all starts when a branch falls from a tree . . .

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    AMAZON


Taking the well-known song/rhyme "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", this author spins Itsy into an eight-legged chap with oodles of personality and more.

Itsy is very satisfied to enjoy his web on the watering can and spend the day in the sun...until the wind picks up with the threat of an incoming storm. With his home destroyed, he searches for a new place to stay and decides to head up the rain gutter. But with the weather's turn for the worse, it's a hard journey. Even those on their way up with him are faced with impossible difficulties. Luckily, Itsy isn't the type to ignore them and stomp on by.

Before grabbing up a retelling, I'm always a little skeptical and hope it doesn't prove worse than the original. While the parallels to the famous rhyme are clear and impossible to overlook, Itsy takes on a personality to adore and root for. He's has a touch of a traditional style reminding of top hats and long-coat tails, while still staying whimsical and inviting. And although I can't say exactly why, his adventure had me thinking of James and the Giant Peach. Maybe, it's due to the wonderful artwork, which added so many fun details, that readers will want to gaze at each page themselves again and again. Or maybe, it's due to the kindness found in the pages. 

The text stays short and concise, allowing the illustrations to take over. It is written in rhyme, and and this flows just freely enough to play with the various situations Itsy faces. The visual scenes drive this one forward and bring smiles and curiosity with the small details surrounding the other insects. Although the plot should be crystal clear, the tale takes on enough of an original atmosphere to have the reader wondering what will happen next...despite knowing what it will be. It kept the read engaging and held a unexpected and wholesome end. It's a book to be read in groups, in cozier situations, and even as a bedtime read.

No comments: