A Bit of ‘Huntsman Spider In My House’ Wonderful News –

From Books In Homes Australia –

A huge congratulations to Willmot Public School, NSW for winning our inaugural University of Western Sydney Book Giving Assembly competition. Check out this fantastic video of their assembly, featuring our Role Model, Michelle Ray and some enthusiastic teachers acting out her story.

Willmot Public School – WINNERS!!!!!!!!!

Today Willmot Public School were declared WINNERS of the 2015 University of Western Sydney and Books in Homes Australia ‘Best Book GIving Assembly Competition’ for ‘A Huntsman Spider In My House’. Great school, fantastic teaching staff, amazing children!
Woot Woot!!

The article and picture below are courtesy of the St Marys – Mt Druitt STAR newspaper.

For many children, owning books is a privilege.

Earlier this year the University of Western Sydney and Books in Homes launched its Best Book Giving Assembly Competition, at the university’s 23 sponsored primary schools.

The focus on both the competition and program was Reading is Fun so pupils, teachers, parents and the UWS representative and role model were asked to be creative in how they presented reading, focusing on either a book, writing an original novel, or expressing how a book could engage emotions.

Willmot Public School was the first to win the perpetual trophy for the Best Book Giving Assembly Competition with teachers bringing 166 students to laughter over their interpretation of Michelle Ray’s children’s story, A Huntsman Spider In My House.

Principal Anne Denham said the teachers put on quite a show for the children as they acted out the story.

“It was great to see how reading and telling a story could be interpreted to the children in such a creative and engaging way,” she said.

The award was presented at a school assembly yesterday, with Ray as a guest.

Alan Beckley, acting director for widening participation, said research has shown a child that is read to and has plenty of books within the home are two of the most important indicators towards future academic success.

“Outreach programs that help shine a bright light onto pathways leading to future learning and personal achievement for our youth should always be supported.”

The program also offers primary pupils the opportunity to see how tertiary studies can be a realistic goal.

stmarysstar.com.au|By Fairfax Regional Media

Endorsement from The Bugman of Mt Washington, Los Angeles

Great review & endorsement from The Bugman of Mt Washington, in Los Angeles. A kindred supporter of bugs.

December 15, 2014
Book Review:  A Huntsman Spider in My House by Michelle Ray and illustrated by Sylvie Ashford
We quickly jumped on the opportunity to review Michelle Ray’s new children’s book and we are pleased to endorse the message it conveys.  The home does contain many unwelcome pests, but there are also many beneficial species that either accidentally or purposely find themselves inside.  Huntsman Spiders are common in Australia, and they are generally considered benign creatures that do no harm to human inhabitants, yet they are frequently subject to unnecessary carnage because they are large and scary appearing to the uninformed public.  The young, nameless female protagonist of Sylvie Ashford’s charming book speaks in rhyme as she explains the habits of Huntsman Spiders to children as well as to the adults that read the book aloud.  Our personal favorite of all of Sylvie Ashford’s colorful illustrations is the one that accompanies the text “I could squash him with my shoe, but he’s not hurting me.”  We thoroughly endorse educating young children to have more tolerance for the lower beasts in hope of reducing Unnecessary Carnage.  This book is suitable for young children learning to read and it has particular relevance for Australian children.  This book is a nice stocking stuffer.

Unnecessary Carnage averted:  "I could squash him with my shoe, but he's not hurting me."  Illustration by Sylvie Ashford

‘What’s that Bug?’ does not endorse extermination.

A Huntsman Spider in my House – Book Review



We love books in our house. They are precious gifts to be cherished and loved forever. So when I was offered the opportunity to review a new children’s book for my blog it took me all of 0.35 seconds to say yes.

A Huntsman Spider in my House
Written by – Michelle K. Ray
Illustrated by – Sylvie Ashford

I have to confess I’m not a fan of spiders, or any other creatures that have wiggly legs and that scuttling behaviour that makes me go all prickly. But I am super-keen not to pass my own issues onto my kids and so am very careful to control my response to bugs when confronted with them. Where I fall short is in actively promoting a happy and lively interest in them and that’s a shame, especially for my little boy, who seems very inquisitive where small creatures are concerned.

A Huntsman Spider in…

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A Super Review from the Impartial Report, ‘Any parent would do well to give this book to their child’

‘Another fantastic, really lovely review from the Impartial Report check it out…….’She (my daughter) was very excited, which is something I had never before seen when it came to books………She loved the rich, colorful illustrations and the rhyming story, and made me read it to her a number of times before, finally, insisting that she read it herself’.

‘Any parent would do well to give this book to their child.’

Many, many, many thanks!!

Fantastic Book Review from The Education Cafe – Popular USA Blog!!

Crawly Not So Creepy – The Education Cafe

Is your child afraid of spiders? I think many children (and adults) at some point in their lives get spooked by spiders. Whether big and hairy or small and jumpy, spiders are notoriousspiders, huntsman spiders, Australia, book review, Michelle Ray for frightening children. Who can forget Little Miss Muffet?

Many spiders are not dangerous and even help us by eating bothersome insects. One such helpful spider in Australia is the Huntsman spider. Michelle Ray, author of A Huntsman Spider in My House, does a wonderful job weaving a story to teach young children not to be afraid of the Huntsman Spider. The illustrations by Sylvie Ashford brought a smile to my face and delighted my daughter. At the end of this simple children’s book, Ms. Ray provides interesting spider facts and a coloring page. Or, as written by Australians (and other writers of British English) it is a colouring page.

My only wish is that the book would be available in hardcover.

If you would like to order her book or find out more, click here.

Ordering in the U.S.A.? Click here.


Here are some links to spider facts in countries around the world:

Spiders of North America

The World’s Largest Spiders (Top 10) (largest is . . . you guessed it . . . The Huntsman Spider)

Spiders of South Africa

Spiders of Australia

Spider Pages to print and color


Read more book reviews on The Education Café.


Another Spider Fact WOW!!! Fish-Eating Spiders!!

Spiders sure are interesting and who knew some eat fish!  Thank you National Geographic 🙂

Fish-Eating Spiders Can Catch Prey 5 Times Their Size

These semiaquatic spiders are found on every continent except Antarctica.

A fishing spider in French Guiana clutches its prey.


Katie Langin

National Geographic

Published June 18, 2014

It isn’t easy being a little fish. Predators dart at them underwater. Humans try to snare them with hooks. And other species—more than we’d thought, it turns out—can pounce on them from above.

According to a new study, spiders in 8 of the world’s 109 arachnid families can catch and consume small fish. Some of them can even subdue fish five times heavier than they are.

These arachnids are nearly everywhere. The study, published June 18 in the journal PLOS ONE, says fish-eating spiders can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They’re especially prevalent in warm, oxygen-depleted bodies of water like the wetlands of Florida, where fish are more likely to come to the surface in search of oxygen-rich water.

At least 18 species have now been observed catching fish, including six-spotted fishing spiders (Dolomedes triton) in the United States, pond wolf spiders (Pardosa peudoannulata) in India, and great raft spiders (Dolomedes plantarius) in the United Kingdom.

These findings were pieced together by Martin Nyffeler at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and Bradley Pusey at the University of Western Australia in Albany. The two biologists first searched for published reports and Internet posts documenting spiders eating fish. What they found—89 records in total, half of which hadn’t been published in the scientific literature previously—allowed them to paint a more complete picture of this unusual behavior.

“Fish predation by spiders has always been seen as a bit of an oddity,” said Marie Herberstein, an expert on spider behavior at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, who was not involved in the study. “But the review makes a compelling argument that it is widespread, both taxonomically as well as geographically. This was certainly a surprise.”

How It’s Done

Fish-eating spiders live in freshwater environments like ponds and wetlands, where they hunt for meals on foot instead of using a web. Some can even swim, dive, and walk on the water’s surface.

These semiaquatic spiders “anchor their hind legs to a stone or a plant, with their front legs resting on the surface of the water,” the authors write. Then the arachnids wait to ambush their prey. The slightest ripple in the water, or anything that touches the spiders’ outstretched legs, can trigger an attack.

That’s because fish-eating spiders are generalist predators—they’ll go for nearly anything that moves. Most of the time, that means their meals are insects that have fallen into the water. But occasionally they purposely attack larger animals like fish.

And they’re well equipped to eat them, with mouths that can pierce flesh. They use those mighty maws to inject a lethal venom packed with powerful neurotoxins—chemicals that attack the nervous system—into their fish prey.

When the fish is dead, the spiders haul it to dry ground and administer chemicals that liquify its body tissues, making the meal easier to eat. (Related: “Male Spiders Self-Sacrifice, Lose Genitals.”)

Outsize Accomplishment

In the animal world, the average predator is 42 times larger than the prey it’s trying to subdue. Some fish-eating spiders, however, are actually smaller than their prey. (Watch videos of spiders catching bats, frogs, and mice.)

The authors speculate, for instance, that a giant fishing spider—weighing in at 7 grams (0.4 ounces)—would be capable of catching a 30-gram (1 ounce) fish.

Such supersize food sources could be critically important for females in the process of producing eggs, or for spiders that don’t have access to enough insect meals.

One thing is for sure: It’s more bad news for little fish.

Follow Katie Langin on Twitter.