Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Creepy Crawlies




12.   Lev Nikolaevich Zilov.
Mizgir. [The Spider].
Konstantin Pavlovich Rotov, illustrator.
Moscow, St. Petersburg: GIZ, 1923.

The spider's multiple pairs of limbs, like those of a Hindu deity, are a compelling symbol of its terrifying power. It's hardly surprising that spiders are almost always villains in children's literature, from the arachnid that frightened away Miss Muffett to Shelob in The Lord of the Rings. This dark Russian fable about a spider who decimated an insect community near his web and then put down a rebellion against him, is no exception.

In spite of their literary reputation for malevolence, most species of spiders are not harmful to man. And yes, we know that spiders are not true insects and should not have been included in this exhibition!