Westly: A Spider's Tale
By Bryan Beus
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: Sept. 29, 2015
When Westly emerges from his cocoon, not as a beautiful butterfly, but as a spider, he is rejected by the butterfly kingdom and undertakes a journey to discover who he really is. But not even the dirt eaters can offer him answers. Not the dragonfly, the centipede, the moth, or even Zug Zug, the fly. None have ever seen an eight-legged creature who can spin webs. However, Westly's new friend the Raven has offered to help. If only the Raven could get inside the glass menagerie where Westly and the other bugs live. Yes, yes, the Raven is sure he could change everything. But sometimes things don't turn out the way we plan.
Delightfully illustrated by the author, Westly: A Spider's Tale is a story about discovering one's true potential, learning that being different is not a bad thing, and that even misfits can grow up to be heroes.
Westly: A Spider’s Tale was an excellent story. I found it to be immediately engaging. Westly a scrawny, ugly little caterpillar was supposed to be the son of the Monarch Butterfly King, but when he emerged from his cocoon, he was not a butterfly at all, but a spider! Since he wasn’t a butterfly he could neither rule the after his father nor remain in the kingdom.
Now, of course, we know that spiders hatch from egg sacks and butterflies take weeks to hatch from their cocoons, but this story is a fantasy/fairy tale and so the author has taken liberties with reality and we allow him that. Besides, it makes the story flow more quickly and this story isn’t based in reality anyway since the insects all talk.
I thought the theme of the story was an important one – discovering who you are and believing in yourself– Westly really had some identity issues. He wasn’t one of the sky dwellers, he didn’t feel like one of the dirt eaters and in trying to discover who he was, he got himself and everyone else into a whole mess of trouble. The story touched on a few other themes as well such as family, friendship, loyalty and cooperation.
There were a lot of twists and turns in this novel. They kept the book moving along very swiftly, making the story a fairly quick book to finish reading.
I enjoyed the author’s personification of each of the insects. I thought he did a great job of bringing each one of them to life. The creatures in the well I found rather disturbing, but kids being kids, they will probably love that – most of them anyway.
Westly: A Spider’s Tale was a great adventure story. I really liked the cover of the book. It’s actually what attracted me to the book in the first place. If your child enjoys fantasy stories, I would suggest you pick this book up for him or her. I gave this book 5 stars out of 5.
Thank you to the publishers for providing this book via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author:
Bryan Beus – which rhymes with Zeus – is the winner of the Kirchoff/Wohlberg Award from The New York Society of Illustrators. He works full time as an illustrator for magazines, book covers, film and game conceptual art, and more. When not writing and drawing, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amanda, mindful meditation, drinking root beer floats, and eating far too many Sour Patch Watermelons. Westly is his debut novel.
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