David Kirk's Little Miss Spider
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
You'll have to forgive me for not being familiar with David Kirk's Miss Spider books.
Apparently, the adult Miss Spider has proven so popular with children that author-artist Kirk has put together a series of books featuring Miss Spider as a child.
In this, the first of that series, Little Miss Arachnid is born and sets off in search of her mother.
Well, given that her offspring seem to number in the thousands, it's no surprise that Mama Spider has made herself scarce. Still, this one little spider seems to know that a mother should be present. She sets off in search of her but fails to find her.
Enter Betty Beetle, who encounters our Little Miss sobbing atop a tree.
A beetle named Betty
Buzzed by this high perch.
"A child needs a mother.
May I please help your search?"
Helpful Betty flies the lonely baby spider about in a fruitless hunt for Mama Spider. But when the search turns dangerous (note: spiders should not visit nests full of goldfinch hatchlings), Betty rescues her little charge and offers to be her mom.
(A photograph in Betty's home indicates that there is likely an adoptive father in the wings as well.)
The book has been cited as a children's book about adoption, but as a one-time foster parent, I can tell you it's even more truly a "foster-to-adopt" book.
Betty Beetle volunteers responsibility for this child and attempts to facilitate a reunion. Only when that fails does she become the adoptive parent. This, of course, is the very definition of foster to adopt.
For finding your mother,
There's one certain test.
You must look for the creature
Who loves you the best.
David Kirk's breathtaking oil paintings are rendered with such eye-popping color and geometric exactitude that you half expect the man's middle name must be Pixar. His verse is simple but tells the story effectively.
If you want a book to make a young adopted child feel cared for, Little Miss Spider will do the trick and do it well!
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