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Up, Up, and Away
Up, Up, and Away
By author: Ginger Wadsworth   Illustrated by: Patricia J. Wynne
Product Code: 
Binding Information: Hardback 
4  - 7
In Stock
Price: $16.95
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One spider's search for a home of her own

Each spring hundreds of spiders hatch from their egg sacs and begin their struggle to survive. They must protect themselves not only from predators, but also from their very own siblings!

Ginger Wadsworth and Patricia J. Wynne chronicle the real-life drama of one spider as she eats, grows, spins a dragline of silk, and soars up, up, and away to find a home of her own.

This book is good for your brain because:
Early Childhood Literacy, Insects and their Environments

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If you like this book, you'll love:
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  • Also Available As:
    Binding Information: Paperback 
    ISBN: 978-1-58089-222-3
    Availability: In Stock
    Price: $7.95

  • An NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12
  • CCBC Choices
  • RIF 2012-2013 STEAM Multicultural Booklist

  • Reviews
      Kirkus Reviews - June 1, 2009
    "When the warm winds blow" in spring, a host of tiny garden spiderlings clamber out of the silken sac that protected them over the winter, and one—eluding hungry predators that include her own brothers and sisters—spins a long strand that carries her away on the breeze. After a long season in her new home she spins her own egg sac, fills it and then dies "as mother spiders do every year." Wadsworth retraces this life cycle in simple, non-anthropomorphic language, and Wynne's pale, naturalistic illustrations are just as restrained and matter-of-fact. Her delicate watercolor, gouache, ink and colored-pencil images include just enough detail to focus readers' attention on what matters, from Spider's many excapes from predators to her own successful trapping of prey. Along with being good preparatory material for a shared reading of Charlotte's Web (obviously intentional, as this book is dedicated to E.B. White), this may draw budding naturalists looking for a less melodramatic alternative to Sandra Markle's Sneaky, Spinning Baby Spiders
      ForeWord Magazine - July 1, 2009
    A mother spider lays her eggs and wraps them "round and round with her strong silk thread." Detailed illustrations and bold language make this tale of birth and death, autumn and spring, fresh, exciting, sensational as life. A great update for elementary school libraries and classrooms.
      Booklist - August 1, 2009
    In the fall, a garden spider lays her many eggs and encases them in a sac of silk. In the spring, the young spiders emerge. The narrative follows a particular spiderling as she searches for food, avoids predators, and spins a silk thread that catches an air current, carrying her to a new locale, where she spins a web, eats her prey, creates her own egg sac, and dies. In the spring, the cycle begins again. Simply told with wellchosen words and phrases, the story reads aloud well. An appended page provides further information about the type of spider portrayed. Wynne uses watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil to add hue and shading to the precise ink drawings that define the spiders and their surrounding. The illustrations vary in tone from pastoral landscapes that set the scene to close-ups of dramatic escapes from predators that look monstrously large from the spider’s point of view. A well-crafted nonfiction picture book.
      Bees Knees Reads - September 1, 2009
    We've been staying at my folk's house for a week now. It's the same home I grew up in as a child and I am reminiscing about all the fun times I had playing in the wonderful big backyard, rescuing bees from the pool, feeding the anthills sugarcubes and admiring spider webs glistening with dew in the early morning.

    Author Ginger Wadsworth's latest book release Up, Up, and Away just arrived in my mother's mailbox and my son (who loves spiders)immediately snatched it from my hands and ran to the sofa to read it for us. I knew he would love this one.....especially the part where the spider "bites her prey with powerful jaws and sucks up juicy beetle guts or sips fly stew." EEEEeeewwwww!!!! ;) Ginger Wadsworth knows just how to hold a little one's attention.

    The story teaches us garden spider facts
    while following a little spider who searches for a home of her own. While there are a few moments that may be a little tough for a small child to grasp, (when "a brother crunches a sister for lunch" or when the mother spider "ties the egg sac tight, then dies")they are true to life and nature. These are important moments to take advantage of allowing us as parents and teachers to discuss the natural cycle of death and new life.

    Patricia J. Wynne's illustrations are beautiful, bold and colorful. She depicts the Zipper Spider aka the Banana Spider of the South. We had lots of these in our garden in Virginia. I haven't come across any in So. Cal yet. They have bright yellow and black markings on their abdomens and spin silky webs with thick white zig-zags down the center.
      School Library Journal - September 1, 2009
    This book describes the life cycle of the black-and-yellow Argiope aurantia (a type of garden spider). After a mother lays her eggs, the spiderlings hatch inside the egg sac and wait for spring to chew a hole and emerge into the sunlight. Seeking a permanent home, one young femaile "spins out silken thread into the breeze" and floats upward, ballooning gracefully on air currents, and eventually finds a safe haven where she matures, meets a mate (there is no mention of details), and lays her own eggs, beginning the cycle anew. The clear, simple text is perfectly accompanied by delicate, bright-hued watercolors. Kids who want more may enjoy the brilliant photos in Nic Bishop's Spiders (Scholastic, 2007), even if they are not ready for the more in-depth text. Wadsworth and Wynne have created a sturdy framework for introducing their subject's architecturally elegant orb web.
      Wild About Nature Writers - November 14, 2009
    This book covers a year in the life of a female garden spider, from the moment she leaves the sac as a spiderling until her own life ends and her very own spiderlings leave their sac. We learn right away how difficult and dangerous life can be for new spiders. From the struggle to be free of the sac, to trying to avoid being the lunch of a lizard, a bluebird or one of her own brothers or sisters, this spiderling is tough and smart and ready for all of the adventures that this next year will bring.
    Up, up and away, she is finally able to float away on her silky zip line with the help of a breeze. She lands atop a sturdy fence post and decides that this is indeed the perfect place to call home. She spends her spring and summer building beautiful webs and growing big and strong from all of the insects that she lunches on. In the fall, spider mates and as winter draws near, she lays her eggs one by one. She wraps her eggs safe and snug inside a silken sac. Of course, as all spider mommies do, our friend Spider dies after this. But, reminiscent of Charlotte’s Web, Spider’s babies hatch in late winter and break free of the sac in early spring. Up, up and away, each spiderling begins their own new adventure.
    The language of this book is lovely, but simple enough for early readers.
      NSTA Recommends - February 3, 2010
    What happens after spiderlings grow and hatch? The survival of their species depends on their ability to go "up, up, and away." This real-life drama follows the life cycle of the baby Argiope aurantia garden spider from egg to adult.

    The mother spider lays hundreds of eggs, binding her egg sac to a twig. As the hatchlings leave their nest, the young spiders face many dangers from both predators and their own siblings. Readers follow the journey of a single female spider. Spinning a web and navigating air currents along the way, she eventually finds a permanent home of her own.

    Reading this book is an ideal way to introduce life cycles to primary students. Watercolor and pencil drawings dominate each page. Short segments of accurate text are great for reading aloud or for independent reading. There is supplementary section of natural history information for the teacher or mentor. This is an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010.
      The Storytellers - April 20, 2010
    In spring when warm winds blow, baby garden spiders hatch and emerge from their protective silken sacs. One small arachnid eludes predators, spins a long silk strand, blows over fields and meadows by air currents, and finally settles on a fence post. There she spins a web to catch passing food, stays until she mates, builds her own egg sac, and the cycle begins again. Endnotes provide information on garden spiders, their black and yellow markings, and the strange pattern of their webs, their habitats, and life span.
      Yellow Brick Road - March 31, 2010
    When baby spiders leave the egg sac, many of them float away on draglines to find a place to survive and thrive. Wadsworth and Wynne "chronicle the real-life drama of one spider" as she soars away.

    All through the long winter, a tiny egg sac waits for the warm winds of spring. Eventually tiny spiders chew their way free and into the world. Follow one tiny spiderling as she escapes predators, including her hungry siblings, and sets herself free on a balloon flight adventure toward home.

    Ginger Wadsworth’s simple poetic text flows freely off the tongue, making for a delightful and informative read-aloud for all ages. Patricia Wynne’s brightly colored illustrations in watercolor, gouache, ink and colored pencil add just the right amount of whimsy and detail to move the story forward and gives us a spider’s-eye-view of the world.

    Up, Up, and Away is an exciting nonfiction journey into the life-cycle of the Zipper, or Writing, Spider (Argiope aurantia), which can be found in backyard gardens all over much of North America. Inspired by the ever-popular classic Charlotte’s Web, this one is sure to be a well-worn favorite!

      Paula Morrow - April 29, 2010
    Up, Up, and Away describes the life journey of a garden spider. Remember the final scene in Charlotte's Web, when all Charlotte's babies say goodbye to Wilbur and blow away? This picture book shows what might have happened next. As hundreds of tiny spiders spill out of their egg sac, they spread out to search for food.

    The story focuses on a single female spiderling. The prose is both poetic and playful: "Spider grabs tight and spins a dragline, one sturdy silk thread to tie her to her rock. All around her, dozens of spiders bounce up and down like tiny yo-yos."

    Vigorous illustrations in watercolor, gouache, ink, and colored pencil add life and movement to Spider's story, from the greens of spring through the rich colors of summer to the yellow and brown of autumn. As winter approaches, Spider lays her own eggs. "She ties the sac tight, then dies, as mother spiders do every year," the text states matter-of-factly. This is not the end, of course. Come spring, hundreds of new spiderlings hatch, and in a nice turnabout, the text selects a male this time to spin a dragline and float away on the breeze.

      Children's Literature - February 15, 2011
    The life span of a type of garden spider that is also called zipper or writing spider is detailed in this beautifully illustrated book. The pictures combine the use of colored pencil, ink, watercolor and gouache to perfectly accompany the text through a year in the spider's eventful life. In the fall, a mother spider lays her eggs and then binds them into a sac that she then attaches to a tree branch. The tiny newborns remain inside until the warmth of spring makes them chew their way outside. Here danger lurks from hungry birds, lizards and siblings. But Spider manages to escape on her newly created silk thread that catches the wind and takes her over the sea and eventually back to a farm. Here she expertly spins her webs to catch her meals of flies, beetles and other insects. With the arrival of fall, Spider mates and begins the process all over again. The final page of the book provides additional information to be shared by adults with young children. Curious youngsters will delight in this wonderful book. It should be in every science collection.
      Archimedes Notebook - June 26, 2011
    I have lots of spiders in my garden - hairy wolf spiders the size of quarters, nursery-web spiders that protect their eggs, and bright yellow and black garden spiders with zig-zaggy designs in their webs. But one sight I have yet to see is hundreds of tiny spiderlings riding air currents on their skinny silk parachutes.

    So I'm glad that Ginger Wadsworth and Patricia Wynne teamed up to show how baby spiders travel by flying Up, Up and Away. Spiderlings spin silk draglines that catch the breeze - and because the baby spiders are so lightweight they're carried into the air. It's called "ballooning", and they ride the air currents until evening when the air cools and drops them onto field or forest or your back yard.

    I asked Wadsworth what inspired this book. "I've always been fascinated with the ballooning spiders I encountered in my garden," she said. "Also, the concept of moving away and finding a new home, whether for a spider or for a child, is a universal theme." Wadsworth credits her penpal, Adirondack naturalist Ed Kanze, with inspiring her. "He wrote about how far ballooning spiders might travel, and that column stuck with me!"

    Wadsworth's book follows the adventures of one young spider who manages to avoid becoming lunch for a lizard and evades the pointy end of a hungry bird's beak. After landing on a fence near a farm, the young spider begins spinning a web. "Without a single lesson she knows what to do," Wadsworth writes.

    All spring and summer the spider builds webs and catches dinner. "She bites her prey with powerful jaws and sucks up juicy beetle guts ..." M-M good! After mating, the spider lays her eggs, wraps them in silk and dies, as every mother spider must do. But life goes on. Her babies hatch out and wait for spring when they, too will fly up, up and away.

    Wadsworth admits that she learned a lot about spiders while working on the book. But with thousands of species inhabiting our planet, she felt she had to focus on one kind for the story. "I chose the garden spider because of their beautiful webs, and because they are so common that children might spot them in a park or garden," she says. "Plus they are gorgeous-looking spiders."

    What people don't know is that spiders are really fragile creatures, Wadworth explained. When she was working on her book, Rachel Carson, Voice for the Earth, she read how Carson carried spiders outside to release them. "Now we have a rule in our household that everyone is expected to gently wrap a spider in a paper towel or piece of Kleenex and carry it out," Wadsworth says. "Or they can ask me to do it."

    A great book for kids who want to learn more about the secret life of spiders, with delightful illustrations.