Charlotte and Sophie
Two Swell Spiders
By Connie Goldin, LMFT
October in San Diego hails the arrival of huge garden spiders, so I was inspired to try to create some “spider web art” for children. Get out the white, uncoated paper plates, pens, a ruler, markers, pastels, and nontoxic washable paint, and try making some webs with your kids. Plain white paper is great, too. I used sponges to blot on silver and blue metallic tempera and it made things look quite beautiful.
I started this project backwards. Usually I have a wonderful book that inspires a children’s art project. This time, I started with the art project and then went searching for the books. Mom to Madre is very lucky to receive wonderful books from friends and strangers alike, who want to contribute to our work with kids. All the books go to children and families at our Family Literacy Parties. As soon as I started searching through boxes of books, I found two classics.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams, and Sophie’s Masterpiece by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Jane Dyer, are both exceptional children’s books whose heroines are spiders. Charlotte, a spider in a barn, famously sets out to save the life of a pig in E.B. White’s charming children’s novel. Her heartfelt messages, woven into her web, pardon a pig. Sophie, tries to do kind deeds for humans, who are repulsed by her. Her kindness for humans is finally accepted by a poor mother whose newborn receives a blanket–a masterpiece– magically spun for the child. Charlotte’s Web is a wonderful “read-aloud” book for younger children, and an excellent novel for young readers. Sophie’s Masterpiece is a beautiful picture book with a moving story that will touch readers of all ages. Enjoy them both, and have fun making your own spider webs with your children.