Welcome to my book group! Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get an invitation to my book group, because I’m going to be the only one in it. That way I can be sure that my book group will be the best one for me! And like I always say, if it’s good for me, it’s good for the world.
I was initally attracted to Miss Spider’s Tea Party because of the illustations. This book is chock full of colorful, Pixar-like, day-glo, freakin’ wild, LSD flashbackesque paintings of insects and flowers and, yes, tea cups. In a word, groovy. These are illustrations sure to lure in every counter culture hippie era person who ever ate magic mushrooms. On a regular basis. Not that I did. I think.
That said, I just can’t buy the premise of this book. We start off with Miss Spider lamenting the fact that she doesn’t have any friends: “If I had friends like these, who’d stay a while with me, I’d sit them down on silken chairs, and serve them cakes and tea.” Did you catch that, friends? She’d sit them down on silken chairs. Of course she would! Then she’d wrap them up, inject them with a liquifying solution, and eat them at her leisure. Hello – we are not stupid….
For most of the book, the insects seem to have their wits about them because baby, nobody wants to have frickin’ tea with a spider. I don’t care how cool she looks, all bright yellow and red and with eight polka-dotted legs. Miss Spider invites beetles, fireflies, bumblebees, ants, butterflies and moths to her
ambush “party” and seems truly baffled when they all run or fly away in horror. I think the bumblebees say it best with “We would be fools to take our tea with anyone so spidery.” Note that this is spoken by insects who could potentially sting the shit out of Miss Spider. Even THEY don’t want to come.
Yes, it seemed that the insects weren’t going to be fooled by Miss Spider and I was merrily turning pages, sure that they would stage a major ambush and kill off the old girl with their stingers and other crazy insect weapons. But this was not to be. That crafty Miss Spider finds a lone moth whose wings got wet and couldn’t fly and she was NICE to it; an obvious ploy to trick the other insects into sitting down on her fake silk chairs and drinking tea with her – which they do. There’s just no accounting for this lack of diligence on their part, and by now I’m shouting at the book “Are you freaking nuts??? This bitch is gonna kill you! Run for your lives!” Oh that Miss Spider is a crafty one, she is, because the next thing she does is sit down, just as nice as you please, and proceeds to eat the flowers at the table, like “Check it out, I’m just eating the pretty flowers. I don’t want to eat YOU.” What is doubly disappointing to me is that the bumblebees sit down and join her also. And I really thought they knew better…
This is where the book ends.
The insects have been totally fooled, and now Miss Spider’s got them right where she wants them, and in the sequels, Miss Spider’s Wedding and (strangely enough) Miss Spider’s New Car, she continues with her diabolical plans to befriend the insects. I’m sure that eventually David Kirk will write Miss Spider’s Very Large Meal in which she attracts enough insects to her lair to feed on for an entire season.