The Daddy Longlegs Blues

He can’t spin a web like those fancy spiders do

His daddy was a wanderer and his momma was too….

He has the blues.  The Daddy Longlegs Blues.

The most wonderful picture book arrived in the mail today.  It’s called The Daddy Longlegs Blues, and it is a fantastic melding of lively pictures, words that evoke a certain time and place, and science teaching in the guise of a bouncy story that preschoolers will love.

The text is fun to read (trust me; we’ve read it four times already), lending itself to a rhythmic telling and a little scat, and the main character, a daddy longlegs whose legs are paired to look almost human, is quite likable.  His adventures are scientifically accurate, as the daddy longlegs skates across the water, bounces, and moves lightly over the grass.  He is presented as a likable character, and the words remind children that “He’ll do you no harm.  He tickles as he touches when he’s crawlin’ up your arm.”

The language is imaginative and bouncy, and we like the references to both science and music that the author and illustrator have included.  There’s plenty to learn here, couched in an entertaining story about a groovy old daddy longlegs — not a spider, not a bug, but his own kind of creature.

The only complaint I have (and you know I always look for the negative as well as the positive when I review) is that several of the word choices are inappropriate for a picture book.  I’m not talking about “scat,” “shimmy,” or “opilione.”  I’m talking about “shake your booty” and “ain’t got.”  I know those are tame words for older kids, but do I have to introduce my little ones to them?  In a picture book?  No.  No, I don’t.  A quick change of words to “body” and “has no,” though, makes it one of our new favorite books and one that we couldn’t wait to share here with our friends!

All in all, this is a wonderful book, and I thank Sterling Press for sending it to me for review.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Debbie Jacobs on June 30, 2009 at 7:06 am

    I can’t wait to read this book to my kids! I’m going to look for more animal books by Mike Ornstein.


  2. Posted by ILEEN GUSOFF on July 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm



  3. Posted by Anne Mason on August 19, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Such a great book! What a fun way to introduce your kids to nature and music – It has great rhythm and vibrant illustrations that my kids love. I will buy this as a gift for all of my childrens’ friends!


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