Monday, October 05, 2015

A Lowly Spider Can't Be A Hero—Or Can He?

(Image from Shadow Mountain)

Even though Westly doesn't look quite like his caterpillar friends, he knows that one day, he'll be the Monarch ruling them all.  That's his destiny—his right—as a butterfly prince.  He'll reign from the glittering chandelier at the top of the glass menagerie that encapsulates his entire world.  As his peers emerge from their cocoons with bright, beautiful wings, Westly becomes even more excited.  It's almost his turn!  But when he breaks out of his wrapping, everyone gasps.  Unlike the other young butterflies, he has eight legs and no wings.  Shocked and shamed, Westly runs away from the only home he's ever known.
As a very confused Westly navigates the outside world, he encounters strange creatures, scary places, and all kinds of other dangers he's never faced before.  While having these adventures, Westly slowly begins to understand that he's not a butterfly at all, but a spider.  Before he's had time to really comprehend what this means, Westly makes a giant mistake.  One that puts every insect in the menagerie at risk.  Can he fix what he's done before it's too late?  A lowly spider can't be a hero—or can he?

Written and illustrated by Bryan Beus, Westly: A Spider's Tale tells an exciting story about one spider's quest to find himself.  There's plenty of action to engage young readers.  Beus' drawings as well as his menagerie setting, with its intriguing hierarchy, add depth to the narrative.  Most important, though, are the lessons Westly learns about loyalty, forgiveness, teamwork, and embracing one's uniqueness.  Any child who's ever felt different from his peers will empathize with Westly's plight.  While Westly: A Spider's Tale doesn't bring anything really new or original to the table, it's a quick, enjoyable tale that teaches life lessons valuable not just to children, but to us all. 

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for some scary scenes

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Westly: A Spider's Tale from the generous folks at Shadow Mountain in exchange for my participation in the book's virtual blog tour.  Thank you!

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