I’m Trying to Love Spiders: A Review & Giveaway

When my principal handed me a copy of Bethany Barton’s I’m Trying to Love Spiders, I was intrigued.  She had chosen this book as our Everybody Reads title for the month and I was wondering why.  I mean, who would try to love spiders?  Ew.

I was immediately impressed with both the colorful illustrations and the inviting text.  Bethany Barton takes the reader on a fact-filled journey as the narrator tries to make amends with this “totally gross” arachnid.  At first read, the facts seem to play second fiddle to the hilarious illustrations and interactive nature of the text.  I was too busy laughing to learn anything.  However, a second reading soon revealed a great deal of important information about spiders.  (Did you know that spiders use venom to dissolve their dinner so they can slurp it up?  Ew again.)

I don’t always trust my own grown-up opinion when it comes to picture books.  I prefer to take it to the experts: my own children.  That evening I took the book home and read it to my three-year-old and six-year-old daughters.  Then I read it again.  And again.  They couldn’t get enough.  By far, their favorite feature was the different pages on which a spider appears and the narrator encourages you to “Smash It!  Squish It!  Get it right now!”  There is even a page where you are encouraged to pet the spider.  Can you pet the spider without squishing it?  You’ll have to turn the page to find out.

This book is my new go-to mentor text for teaching information writing, especially to children in the primary grades.  It is infused with facts in the most fun and engaging way possible.  It is the perfect anchor text for teaching voice in the information genre.    Additionally, there is so much other teachable craft inside this book:

  • text placement
  • short sentence fragments
  • pictures and diagrams to explain
  • labels
  • content-area vocabulary
  • use of punctuation

Just take a look inside the book to see the amazing text placement and illustrations:


Click on the image to enlarge.


Click on the image to enlarge.


What kid wouldn’t love this book?

For the sake of not writing a spoiler, I won’t give away the ending.  Maybe, just maybe, it is possible to love spiders.


  • This giveaway is for a copy of I’m Trying to Love Spiders.  Many thanks to Penguin Group for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of I’m Trying to Love Spiders, please leave a comment about this post by Thursday, January 21st at 11:59 p.m. EST. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose name I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Monday, January 25th.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Penguin Group will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – (Book’s Title). Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Thank you to everyone who left a comment.  Carrie’s number was selected, so she will receive a copy of the book.  Here is what she wrote:

Spiders, not my favorite, but this book looks like a winner! Can’t wait to share with my students so the age old misconceptions about spiders can be solved.