Booklist Review of Silk and Venom

Many excellent color photos and clearly drawn maps illustrate the text, which creates an appealing portrayal of the scientist and her fascination with her work.

Silk & Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider. Lasky, Kathryn (Author) , Knight, Christopher G. (Illustrator) Feb 2011. 64 p. Candlewick, hardcover, $16.99. (9780763642228). 595.4.

Lasky and Knight, the writer and photographer who created books such as Surtsey: The Newest Place on Earth (1992) and Interrupted Journey: Saving Endangered Sea Turtles (2001), now introduce arachnologist Greta Binford and the spiders she studies. Beginning with a close look at spiders, the book discusses Binford's childhood interest in the natural world as well as her research on Loxosceles spiders, carried on in her lab at Lewis and Clark College and on a field trip to the Dominican Republic. There, she and two students collect spiders that may help answer questions about the migration of their ancestors millions of years ago. Many excellent color photos and clearly drawn maps illustrate the text, which creates an appealing portrayal of the scientist and her fascination with her work. Source lists of books and websites are appended along with a glossary of spiders that includes small photos, scientific and common names, and page references. Pair this intriguing book with Sy Montgomery’s Tarantula Scientist (2004).

— Carolyn Phelan


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