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Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale by…
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Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale

by Eileen Spinelli

Other authors: Jane Dyer (Illustrator)

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Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale is a heart-warming story about a spider who makes the best out of every situation. Being a spider, Sophie often meets rejection from the humans whom she encounters. Instead of letting rejection kill her kindness, Sophie moves on to find someone else to help. Even at the end of her life, Sophie puts others before herself. This story is an encouragement to readers, young and old, to use their talents to benefit others and to find the beauty in hardship while remaining humble. ( )
  ceb651 | Sep 1, 2016 |
This book was a great read and something that young children would really enjoy. I loved how the book personified Sophie the Spider and made her seem very kind and caring. Many people, especially children, have a negative view of spiders because they think they are scary, but I liked how Sophie did not fall under that category. Sophie tried to be nice to everyone at the house she lived in no matter how poorly they treated her. I also liked the ending to this book because it was very heartwarming. Rather than getting rid of her, the young woman and Sophie formed somewhat of a bond. She knew that she could not let the young woman's newborn baby use the landlady's old scratchy blanket, so she decided out of the kindness of her own heart to knit a blanket for the baby. The illustrations in the book were engaging, and I think this would be a good book to use as a read aloud to beginning children because of the storyline.
  amanna2 | Apr 7, 2015 |
I liked the story for a few reasons. First, I liked the book because of the descriptive language that is used throughout the story. For example, some of the phrases that are used are “day after day she whizzed along,” and Sophie “scampered across the wall.” The extra descriptive words like “whizzed” and “scampered” bring a new complexity to the story. The author could have easily used less descriptive words, like, “day after day she passed along” or “she went across the wall.” But the exciting verbs that the author chose to read keep the writing more exciting and interesting for readers. I also liked the story because of the point of view that was chosen, which was third person. Some of the examples from the main character are that, “she was being flung” and “she journeyed across the rug.” This allows the reader to be pulled into the story. They can view the actions, and readers will feel that they are more involved and stimulated by the story. Readers will be able to picture the events that are occurring because of the graphic language, and the third person view. In my opinion this makes the story more objective, because the story is being told from an outside perspective. When reading the story it can feel more like watching a movie because the reader is just an outside observer. This kind of perspective could involve readers, and make the book more exciting for them. Another reason that I liked the story is because the plot does have an element of suspense. In each situation Sophie is trying to be helpful and create something beautiful, but she always gets stopped for a different reason. In each situation the reader is wondering what is going to happen this time that will prevent her from completing her work. Until finally she will find someone that will understand her, which is the young woman. The slight suspense in the plot keeps the reader interested in the story and wondering what will happen next. Lastly, I liked the story because of the illustrations. I thought the illustrations did enhance the story. The illustrations helped to show the emotions that the characters were feeling in reaction to seeing Sophie’s presence. I also thought the illustrations were important because I was interested in seeing what Sophie’s masterpiece was going to look like, and the illustrations were necessary for that. Overall, I think the big idea of the story is to teach readers to not be discouraged by others. Throughout the story Sophie is fighting against prejudice against her because she is a spider, but she does not let this discourage her. She still continues to make her art, and in the end she is able to create a masterpiece. ( )
  kmetca1 | Feb 21, 2015 |
Summary: Sophie the spider was an artist. She used her web to make beautiful things. She moved to a parlor and went room to room trying to find a place in which she fit in. When she did she was old and tired. She befriended a girl who was going to have a baby and as her last work of art she weaved a blanket for her friends baby.

Personal Reflection: when I read this book I couldn't help but feel like this story related to many people. We all search for where we belong and we all have special gifts and we look for that one place in which the gift is appreciated and praised. When acceptance comes our masterpieces show.

Extension Projects:
1. Have a center in which the students can use yarn and glue to create their own masterpieces.
2. You could also take the kids on a scavenger hunt and see if they can see actual spider webs.

*this would be a great story to have during a spider lesson.*
  BethanyKisner | Oct 24, 2014 |
I thought this story was going to be a replica of Charlotte’s Web, although I was wrong. I liked the characteristics given to Sophie. I liked that she was always thinking of others even though people treated her badly and hurt her feelings. Giving such humanistic characteristics to animals is something I enjoy as a reader. I liked that the illustrator made the antagonists, like the cook and the landlady, to be angry/ugly faces. It made the reader angry that the antagonists were so mean to Sophie the spider.
I liked how the title related directly to the story. I made the connection easily with the blanket of the newborn baby that the spider woven as the masterpiece that signified the title.
It was refreshing that the young woman was accepting of Sophie, which supports the theme. The big idea was that one shouldn’t judge another on appearance. Most people relate spiders to scary and dangerous insects. When, in this case, the spider was a helpful and good-hearted. The fact that Sophie stayed determined to be true to her personality after being “bullied” by the 3 antagonists showed that ignoring people who treat you badly is a good trait to have because Sophie didn’t associate the young women to the previous humans who were mean to her. Sophie was the “bigger person” even though she was a small spider because she moved on and did the young woman a favor by weaving the blanket for her newborn child. It was comforting to know that Sophie’s masterpiece was given to someone who deserved it because the young woman gave Sophie a chance and didn’t judge her on her appearance. ( )
  ngwiaz1 | Sep 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eileen Spinelliprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dyer, JaneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689801122, Hardcover)

Sophie is an artist. She is also a house spider, but one that children will certainly cheer and not fear. The webs she weaves are spectacular--some are stars, or hammocks, or sun patterns--and her mama is very proud of her. When she grows old enough to strike out on her own, however, she is not warmly greeted by the world at large. At Beekman's Boardinghouse, a dull sort of place that "cried out for her talents," she only wants to beautify it with her gossamer artistry. But even as she is spinning a web of curtains for the front parlor, "blending a golden thread of sun into her silk," she is swatted by a screaming landlady! She scampers into the tugboat captain's closet where she sets to work on making him a new suit, day after day, a sleeve here, a collar there. Once discovered there (the captain screeches and climbs out onto the windowsill), she moves on yet again. Now a much older spider, she climbs up a long staircase to settle into a young woman's knitting basket. One day, the woman discovers Sophie... and smiles! Sophie, noticing that her new friend is pregnant and in need of a baby blanket, decides that she will spin one for her baby, a cloth into which she weaves starlight, snippets of fragrant pine, wisps of night, old lullabies, playful snowflakes, and, in the end, her very own heart. Illustrator Jane Dyer, who worked with Eileen Spinelli on When Mama Comes Home Tonight, has outdone herself in Sophie's Masterpiece, painting this bittersweet story in gentle watercolors. She manages to convincingly anthropomorphize Sophie, and paintings like the one of the courageous spider struggling up the long staircase, casting long shadows, will linger long with readers. (Ages 4 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:36 -0400)

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Sophie the spider makes wondrous webs, but the residents of Beekman's Boarding House do not appreciate her until at last, old and tired, she weaves her final masterpiece.

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