on 25 March 2009
This book has 46 pages, so it is not as long as other chapter books. It will take you about half an hour to read. The most interesting characters are Emily's ferocious mum and her tiny and grumpy dad. The parts I liked the best is when Emily's brothers and sisters were being rude to her. The weak bit of the story is when Emily's mum finds out she has 10 legs, after she wins all the sports day races. The book was unputdownable because once you start reading it you want to hear the rest.
I remembered this vividly from childhood and found a library copy to share with my son. He's not a reader yet, so I read it to him. We could easily have read it in one bedtime, and a child who can read will manage in a couple of sittings.
In four chapters, King-Smith tells the tale of Emily, the spider who wins all the Spider Races and discovers it's because she has not eight but TEN legs! Rejected by her parents and siblings, she ends up being sucked up by a hoover... will she ever find someone who accepts her for who she is?
My son was horrified at Emily's brothers and sisters chasing her and threatening her, and his eyes grew wide as the Hoover drew nearer... I had forogtten that at the end (*spoiler*!!!!) Emily finds herself fairly normal and her new friend James does not need to accept her for being different, but my son and I still liked the happy ending for Emily.
As an adult reading this aloud, I enjoyed the natural history, the humour of Emily's mum and dad's situations, the anthropomorphism of the Spider Races.
It's a great length story for the age group, a good story to hold their interest with an engaging heroine.