Written by: Ali Sparkes
Illustrated by: Ross Collins
Josh and Danny are twins – but they’re far from identical. Josh loves creepy-crawlies (as Danny would call them). Danny could “win the Under Nine Dancing Competition” for his bust-out moves when a spider lands on his shorts. That’s all about to change when the boys follow their dog Piddles under a hole in the fence into their mysterious neighbour’s back yard and they end up in Petty Potts’s lab.
Accidentally covered in S.W.I.T.C.H. (Serum Which Initiates Total Cellular Hijack) set out for Piddles, the boys escape and run back home. They climb into the bathtub to wash off the yellow goop clinging to their legs, but they’re too late. The bathtub grows huge as they shrink to spider status. The adventure grows even larger when their sister Jenny flushes them down the drain and a pair of surprisingly wise and friendly rats come to the rescue.
Spider Stampede, the first of six S.W.I.T.C.H. titles (originally published by Oxford University Press in 2011), is a captivating blend of science and fiction. The author effortlessly weaves scientific detail into the story. Simple black-and-white line illustrations add humor and interest.
The first in a series, this chapter book introduces the cast of characters and sets up the motivation for the seemingly mad scientist that is Petty Potts. At the end of the story – once the boys are safely transformed back into eight-year-old humans – Petty Potts’s diary entry fills in a few more storyline details. Readers will quickly realize the story is far from finished! Second grade readers will be hooked. There’s also a two-page glossary of scientific terms used throughout the book and recommended reading pages including both books and websites to expand reading skills.
Spider Stampede is fun, fascinating, and full of fantastic science facts. It’s a clever second grade level chapter book that promises to be a thoroughly entertaining series!
- Title: Spider Stampede
- Author: Ali Sparkes
- Illustrator: Ross Collins
- Publisher: Darby Creek
- Reviewer: Megan Kopp
- Hardcover: 104 Pages
- ISBN: 978-0-7613-9199-9
- Genre: Science Fiction