The Spider and the Fly Picturebook Analysis

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The Spider and the Fly Picturebook Analysis

The Spider and the Fly

Poem by Mary HowittIllustrated by Tony Diterlizzi

Normal Cover AboveDust Cover Right

About Mary Howitt & Tony DiTerlizzi

Tony DiTerlizzi discusses his illustrations of Spider and the Fly

Peritextual FeaturesPeritexxtual features are an important part of the book because every little detail can give a deeper meaning into what we will see while reading the book. Every detail in the peritextual features is meant to make you feel a certain emotion, whether it be confusion, sorrow, or excitement. The first feature we focused on was the cover (pictured above). The cover is an important part of the book because it is the first thing the reader is going to see. On the dust cover ofThe Spider and the Fly, the first thing one notices is the absolute dominance of the Spider. The Spider is front and center, and much larger than anything else on the page. This shows that he is the main character in the book and that he very obviously is a dominant and powerful chatacter. It is also important to note the Spider's face, which is a mixture of anger and deceit, making the reader freightened of him. This is a sign to the reader that he is a character that is up to no good and we should keep an eye on him. The next thing we notice is that the other main character, the Fly, is in the corner and quite a bit smaller than the Spider. The Fly is also in the bottom right hand corner which implies that she is being threatened and that she is moving toward a place of risk. These things are important to note because they give us some insight as to what will happen in the story. On the actual cover of the book the Spider is, once again, the dominant feature and the Fly is still in the bottom right hand corner, showing she is in a risky situation, however, besides these similarities between the dust cover and the actual cover there are also many differences. On the cover there is framing, which encourages the reader to look at the cover as if he or she is looking through a window onto a situation. The most interesting thing about the framing is what the Spider and Fly are doing with the frame. The Spider is out of ther frame giving the reader a sense of excitement, but if the reader looks at the Fly he or she will notice the Fly is stuck in the frame, as well as a spider web. This gives the reader the idea that the Spider has trapped the Fly, and she has no way of escaping. The back cover of the book also offers some interesting insight about the book. The back cover has a picture of a butterfly trapped in a web. Butterflies, generally, represent beauty and innocence to children, so the fact that the butterfly is stuck inside the Spider;s web represents innocence being apprehended. The butterfly is also clearly uncomfortable, based on her body language. The discomfort is shown based on the fact that the butterfly has her legs crossed in front of one another, showing defensiveness, and her eyes are large, almost bulging out of ther head, showing the reader she is fearful. Peritextual features go beyond just the cover of the book, we can also focus on the title and the introductory pages. When the book is first opened, it is clear it is dark because the pages are completely black, giving the reader the reoccuring eerie feeling. The next thing noticed upon opening the book is the "ghost bug." The placement of this bug is important because it will tell a lot about the story. The first thing is that the bug is pointing to the left, which is indicative of telling the reader to return to what he or she was doing and not go further into the book. He is also in the bottom right of the book, indicating to the reader he has just come from a place of danger. Next we look at the title page and the accompanying picture. The title is very dominant and framed, demanding the reader look directly at it, however, it is the accompanying picture tht is of most importance. The illustration of a creepy house is a full bleed, as opposed to being framed. This gives the reader the sense of being more of a participant in what is about to happen, rather than just an observer. By doing this DiTerlizzi is trying to get the reader more involved in the story. The spectator seems to be looking at the house from a worm's eye view, making the audience feel small and detached, therefore, making them feel as if they are a safe distance away from whatever danger is ahead. However, as the reader turns the pages it is apparent that we are moving closer to the frightening house and going toward one window in particular. It is important ot note that the Fly is now in sight, and is once again in a position (bottom right corner) in which she is moving toward danger. The window also seems to be larger than life, while the Fly is, once again, the smallest thing on the page, implying she is a small and weak character.

Thoughts on First ReadingAt first glance and after first reading the book it seems to be extremely eerie. The dark colors along with the "Tim Burton-esque" illustrations, gives an illusion that the book is dark, and makes a person wary about reading it to children. During our first reading we noticed that the book does not fit into what most would consider traditional children's literature, because the ending is not a happy one. It is often assumed, while choosing books to read to children, that the ending should always be happy, however, that was not the case inThe Spider and the Fly. The final thing we noticed after reading the first itme was that the story reminded us of a fable. Fables all have some sort of lesson that the person reading or hearing the fable is intended to take away, and the message was very clear at the end ofThe Spider and the Fly: don;t talk to strangers. Luckily, after further exploring different elements of the book, we came to really enjoy and appreciate it for all of its different features.

Analysis by: Alexis, Sonny & Valerie

IntroductionThe Spider and the Flyis a classic piece of literature, but with an artistic twist. The text in the books is Mary Howitt's poem, written in 1829, yet what give this book a modern twist are the spooky, yet beautiful illustrations done by Tony DiTerlizzi. DiTerlizzi's spine-tingling illustrations accomplanyed with Howitt's unsettling poem unite to create a truly unforgettable reading experience.

In ConclusionAt first glance this book came across as spooky and dark. As future teachers we all believed that this was not a book that should be read to children. However, as we read through the book more and more, it slowly became a book that we all fell in love with. The overall message of the book is a hugely important one to go over with our students, and we all think as long as it is introduced and discussed in the correct way the material can be appropriate. Overall, we recommend this book to teachers of any grade level because of it's beautiful illustrations and the many layers that can be discovered if closely examined.

Picture AnalysisThe picture we chose to focus on is the picture in which the spoder and coerced the fly into admiring herself. We believe this particuar illustration is the most indicative of the book as a whole because it shows the true desire of the Spider, which is to convince the Fly to stick around. When looking at the picture the first thing we noticed was that the Fly is now center stage, looking in a mirror, admiring her beauty. This shows the reader that the Fly being mislead by the Spider is the most important thing in the picture Going beyond the Fly, the reader also notices the Spider, who is, once again, larger than anyting else, stretched across the entire page, and is positioned so his body is up. All these details show the Spider's dominance, but the fact that he is positioned in an upward location also alludes to the idea that he is triumphant in his persuit. If the Fly is admiring her beauty and the Spider is triumphant, what does that mean to the book? It means the Fly's actions are exactly what the Spider wanted from her, she has let go of her inhibitions because of the Spider's admiration. The next thing noticed in this picture is the Spider kicking the ghost bug to the left, out of the frame. This is important because on previous pages the ghost bug was trying to warn the Fly about the Spider, but being kicked out of the frame indicates that he is no longer of any use to us or the Fly. The last thing we focused on in this illustration was the significance of the butterfly wing curtains in the background. These are important because they are an indicator and warning of what is to come if the Fly does not follow he initial instincts. The curtains are also open, indicating that the Spider is that much closer to accomplishing his goal.

The TextThe text of the book is just as important as the illustrations, and the format of the text can tell us a lot about the mood of the book. The font inThe Spider and the Flyis reminiscent of a different time in history. It alludes to the original poem, whichh was written 1829. Next we can focus on the actual words. Howitt did a fantastic job making the main characters and their actions things children could easily understand, while still connecting them to an adult situation. It is important to remember that the poem was intended to be creepy in order for children to remember the end of the story and heed the lesson that went along with it. Fianlly we focus on the connection between the text and the illustrations. The text on its own is creepy and mamorable, however, once accompanied with the illustrations the story becomes disoncerting as well as unforgetable. The pictures help the reader understand the story better, which allows the reader to feel the full impact of the words.

Socio-Cultural ContextOne socio-cultural aspect found inThe Spider and the Flyis gender amd what happens if we break rules. The gender issue in the book is tha idea that whenever a kidnapping or crime takes place, a male is the criminal and a female is the victim. This is evident in the fact that the Spider (who is the obvious villian) happens to be male, while the Fly (who is female) is portrayed as being innocent and weak, and is therefore going to be taken advantage of. The implications that bad things happen when rules are broken is prevelant throughout the entire book, in fact it is why the text was written. The moral ofThe Spider and the Flyis that we should not talk to stranger, and if we do bad things happen. This is a very relevant issue in society today and something children should be aware of. Although the book's message is creepy and slightly unnerving it is important to read this to children in order for them to understand the message.

After Second ReadingAfter reading the book a second time, certain things are prevalent that were not necessarily noticed before. These involve the visual and design aspects of the book. These are the things we, as a group, found fun and interesting. The first thing we noticed was the web that sometimes surrounded the text. While looking at the title page there is the beginning of a web taking form, and as the reader moves through the book the web becomes more and more complete. As the web becoems more complete the Fly becomes more entrapped by the Spider's words, and it is not until the very end, when the Fly has passed, that the web disappears. The next thing we noticed is the fact that the characters are all dressed in 1920's attire. This gave us the allusion to 1920's horror films and adds to the overall creepiness of the story. Lastly, we noticed the irony of the illustrations to the overall mood of the story. The pictures are ironic because they are, at times used to give the reader a false sense of security. For example, on the second page of the beginning illustrations, the Fly is looking through one of the windows of the house. Inside the house there is a doll and a doll house. Both of these items would be found in a child's room, which is asscociated with feeling safe, however, the outside of the house looked creepy and foreboding. If we had not read this book a second time we would have never found these details and would, therefore, be missing key parts of the story.