Review of Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider

Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider
by Jessica Lanan; illus. by the author
Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp.
4/23    9781250810366    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781250326034    $11.99

Lanan asks readers to imagine what life would be like as a regal jumping spider as they learn about this creature’s traits and life cycle alongside a young girl who is observing one. The child arrives at an idyllic community garden to play with friends and neighbors. She is unaware that “Jumper,” a regal jumper spider, is watching from the garden fence. With Jumper’s reveal, the illustrations—lush creations in ink, watercolor, and gouache—shift to a spider’s-eye perspective: the fence posts now loom large, a huge chickadee flies menacingly close, and tall green plants are everywhere. As the girl happily explores the garden environment, she climbs, runs, and observes her surroundings through sight and sound. Each activity is then ­paralleled by the hungry Jumper as she moves around the garden in search of prey, and explanations of spider senses—such as acute hearing through fine hairs, eyes that can see all around (demonstrated by an effective gatefold spread), and extraordinary jumping abilities—are provided. In a dramatic action sequence, Jumper finally spots and captures a fly almost as big as she is. Extensive back matter includes additional information about spider anatomy and life cycles, a glossary, and tips for spider observation.

Pubissue-From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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