Thursday, December 15, 2011

Miss Golden-silk Unties a Tangle

In Miss Golden-silk Unties a Tangle, written and illustrated by Janice Stump Clark, a young spider has a problem. She wants friends, but she has a messy front door. As she strives to see out the front, neighborhood insects walk by, each passing their own judgment about Miss Golden-silk based on the appearance of her web. First to arrive is caterpillar, who thinks no one is at home. Next in line: Grasshopper. He doesn’t even want to meet anyone so slovenly. Beetle Bug laughs at the sloppy abode. Meanwhile, Miss Golden-silk evaluates her threads and takes action. Step by step, she unties the tangle, then rebuilds the web until her house is in order. When the bugs who previously shunned her because of the untidy home spot her spanking new web, they decide she’s okay. The story ends with Miss Golden-silk enjoying tea with her new buggy friends.

Each two-page spread in the book has the story text on one side and a Scripture verse on the other. The verse is supposed to support the text. For example, the text showing Miss Golden-silk getting to work on her web is paired with this verse: “In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people.”

Clark uses a batik process in the illustrations, giving them a cobweb look and feel.

What I Like: The characters are simple but cute. Miss Golden-silk’s look reminds me of the main character in David Kirk’s Miss Spider stories. I also enjoyed the catchy little phrases Miss Golden-silk recites as she fixes her web. The book also includes a free audio book download, which is always a nice perk.

What I Dislike: While I appreciate the inclusion of Scripture, sometimes the Scripture/text pairing was a stretch. I’m not certain children would make a connection, and some might find it outright confusing. I would have preferred one central thematic Scripture idea that was spun (no pun intended) into the tale. (Keep in mind that is a personal preference. Others may not be as distracted as I was by the format.) I was also bothered by how quickly the bugs judged Miss Golden-silk, and then likewise how quickly their prejudices were resolved... all based on the appearance of her web instead of the appearance of her heart. Plus it's pricey for a paperback.

Overall Rating: Good

Age Appeal: No age group is given, but I think it would work for the grade K-1 audience.

Publisher Info: Tate Publishing, 2011; ISBN: 978-1617775680; Paperback, 32 pgs., $19.99.

This book is not available at
Buy it at for $15.59.

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