Every young child should be introduced to this story, as great a classic as its predecessor, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
. This colorful picture book describes a spider's day. Blown onto a farmyard fence, she starts to spin a web. The other animals ask if she wants to play, but in every case "the spider didn't answer. She was very busy spinning her web." The book is touchable: elements including the strands of web are embossed on the pages and you can follow them with your fingertips. But the best thing by far is Carle's familiar, yet still breathtaking skill as an illustrator. Especially in this large 11.5-by-8.5-inch format, his cow, goat, and dog (just to mention three favorites) capture the essence of each animal in a way few artists can hope to approach. (Baby to preschool) --Richard Farr
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
Mice, a rottweiler, an arachnid and a few other assorted critters make sturdy reappearances in five board book versions of picture books. In Ellen Stoll Walsh's Mouse Paint, "three white mice on a white piece of paper" enjoy a colorful romp, while in Walsh's Mouse Count a similar gaggle narrowly escapes being served for dinner (Harcourt/Red Wagon, $6 each, 28p, ages 1-3 ISBN 0-15-200265-0; -200266-9 Sept.). Yet another mouse searches the animal kingdom for companionship?and finds an unexpected respondent?in Eric Carle's Do You Want to Be My Friend? (HarperFestival, $6.95, 32p, ages 2-6, ISBN 0-694-00709-9 Sept.). The rewards of industriousness are celebrated in a second Carle title, The Very Busy Spider; its embossed web brings a tactile dimension to his familiar collage artwork (Philomel, $9.95, 26p, ages 2-up ISBN 0-399-22919-1 Aug.). Finally, the canine in question is Alexandra Day's beloved Carl, who takes charge of a crew of toddlers in Carl Goes to Day Care (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $5.95, ages 1-3 ISBN 0-374-31145-5 Sept.).
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