Horn Book Review of Silk and Venom

Silk & Venom: 
Searching for a Dangerous Spider 
by Kathryn Lasky; photos by Christopher G. Knight 
Intermediate, Middle School Candlewick 64 pp. 
2/11 978-0-7636-4222-8 $16.99

After presenting a brief but informative overview of spider fundamentals, Lasky shadows arachnologist Greta Binford as she investigates key questions about Loxosceles spiders in North and South America. The details of Binford’s school and college years easily portray her as a regular person—interested in athletics and cheerleading as well as science and nature, and eager to take on opportunities like the field assistantship in college that solidified her career focus. Currently, Binford’s work involves both controlled experiments in her research laboratory at Lewis and Clark College and field-based data collection in the Dominican Republic. Lasky attentively explains the research in absorbing detail, clearly showing how each piece of data is pulled together to provide evidence for the migration and evolution of these spider species. This care extends to the numerous color photographs and diagrams that portray Binford and her meticulous research techniques in and out of the lab, the spiders themselves, and the people—students, scientists, and children—who find them fascinating.

Danielle j. Ford


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