It’s strange, but I find it harder to be honest when I’m familiar with the author. When I love the book, I feel like I need to find faults to keep egos regular and encourage improvement. When the book is full of faults, I feel guilty, like I’m afraid to offend them.
“Westly, a Spider’s Tale” is a children’s fable about a monarch caterpillar who comes out of his cocoon as a spider. His troublesome explorations to discover who he is and what he can do seem fitting for this book’s main audience: kids who are just beginning chapter books.
If I had to describe it in one word, I’d say “creative.” Mr. Beus is primarily an artist (he’s also the book’s illustrator), and this quality is visible in his writing. The setting and descriptions read like paintings and some scenes of action or description played better with accompanied pictures. Ambiguity can be a side affect when the realm of impossibility is opened and played with. In this way, however, the pictures don’t hinder the imagination, but clarify it.
As creative as the situations and resolutions are, the plot is slightly predictable. The characters are simple and act from their emotions, making them a bit dramatic, but then again, it’s a children’s book.
As I said before, it’s harder for me to review a book of a friend, but thankfully, I stand on the middle grounds for this one. It’s not a masterpiece (like some of Mr. Beus’s paintings), but I definitely don’t feel any guilt when suggesting it to customers at my bookstore. I put it at a good standing ***3 stars***.