The Weaver by Qian Shi

The Weaver by Qian Shi
Publisher: Andersen Press
Genre: Childrens, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 3+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by Astilbe

Stanley is a spider, a weaver and a collector. On his web he collects seeds, twigs, leaves and all kinds of precious things he cannot name. Stanley is very proud of his collection, but what can one tiny spider do when it is washed away? In this stunning, deceptively simple and thoughtful debut from animator, illustrator and writer Qian Shi we discover the difference between what you collect in the world and what you collect in your heart.

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As soon as I met Stanley, I wanted to give him a gentle hug. He was such a warm and friendly little spider that I liked him immediately even though I’m a little afraid of his species in real life. It was fascinating to watch him build his web and collect all sorts of treasures in it as time went by. I wanted nothing but the best for him.

The ending didn’t quite make sense to me. After his web was destroyed by a strong rainstorm, Stanley rebuilt it. What happened after that felt slightly out of place in the storyline. While I understood what the author was attempting to say, I suspect his point would be harder to grasp for preschoolers. It would have been nice to have a more concrete explanation of what he was trying to do there given the fact that he was writing for such a young audience, and I’m saying this as someone who enjoyed everything else about it quite a bit.

I loved the message of this tale. It was never heavy-handed, but it did make its point clear to the audience as the plot unfolded. There’s something to be said for story books that have a lesson to teach, especially if they always do so in a way that feels genuine. It was like listening to a friend talk about how their day had gone. The message was unmistakable, but the journey to reach that point was even more important than where Stanley and the reader ended up in the final scene.

Anyone who likes spiders should check out The Weaver.

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