Lately I've been looking to various lists of holidays and observances for inspiration for my storytime themes, and the first full week of April was "Be Kind to Spiders Week". Since so many people have somewhat irrational fears of spiders as adults, I thought maybe this would be a good opportunity to provide some factual information and a more positive spin on spiders.
After our "Hello Song" I brought out our tarantula spider puppet I named Aragog to help me introduce the storytime, along with a non-fiction book about spiders. I talked about how most spiders are harmless to people, and they help us by catching some of the bugs that can harm or annoy us like mosquitoes and flies. I showed pictures of the only two species found in the U.S. that are harmful, the black widow spider and the brown recluse, and talked a little about the spider's anatomy. I also mentioned that it's okay not to want spiders in your house and have a grown-up humanely relocate them outside, but we should just let them be when they are outside where they belong.
After a lead-in song I read the first book, the classic Little Miss Spider by David Kirk. This story is short and sweet, and Little Miss Spider is so adorably cute I don't see how anyone could be scared of her. This book was originally published 28 years ago, and was perhaps ahead of it's time in showing a non-traditional family, and that parents are the ones who love you most and care for you and don't necessarily look like you. I will have to remember this one the next time a patron is asking for adoption stories.
After that, we sang the traditional children's song, "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" using the traditional hand motions:
The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
And the itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.
Some editions of this book print the web in a silvery-white, raised ink that is great for one-on-one or independent reading, but not so great for storytime as it's hard to see. This version showed the web in a goldish color that was flat, so more visible and better for storytime.