With everyone’s favorite scary holiday just around the corner, I thought it appropriate to discuss a somber poem written by Mary Howitt and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi titled The Spider and the Fly. In the 2002 adaptation, DiTerlizzi’s black-and-white illustrations are visually stunning. They capture the mood of the swanky Hollywood films that inspired him and are a perfect compliment to Howitt’s lyrical words of wisdom.
The Spider and the Fly is a classic, cautionary tale, warning travelers to never trust a sly stranger who hides his nefarious intentions behind abundant flattery and empty promises. Published in 1828, the story’s ominous message still rings true today, and unfortunately it is something we must all teach our children and reinforce at Halloween, when asking strangers for sweets and treats is customary.
Along with National Fire Prevention Week, personal safety, and stranger danger are great topics to focus on in October. One way to broach a difficult subject with children is to read them a book about it first. A story can set the tone in a non-threatening way and open the door for meaningful conversation.