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.

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.


Awesome Huntsman Spider Newspaper Article with Pictures!!!

Nothing to fear from huntsman spider, even if they crawl across your face

I learnt this week that there’s really no need to panic if you find a huntsman spider crawling across your face.

The Manly Daily reported this month that weather conditions could mean an increase in the number of huntsmen found indoors. The prospect revealed a number of readers had a fear of the hairy species.

I’d really let this guy have a place in your house for the winter and just let him do his thing – Olga Kazakova

 Manly Daily journalist Andrew Priestley with his hairy-legged new friend.

In a bid to help allay people’s concerns about the common household spider, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo gave me an insight into just how harmless the amiable arachnids are.

HUNTSMAN: Spiders expected to migrate indoors as weather cools

The zoo’s head invertebrate keeper, Olga Kazakova, was on hand as I interacted with one of the spiders.*

She explained we had nothing to fear from the humble huntsman.

“If anything, they’ll be more scared of you,” she said.

“Generally they’re quite friendly little critters.”

Wild Life Sydney Zoo Invertibrate keeper Olga Kazakova with a huntsman. Picture: Braden F

Wild Life Sydney Zoo Invertibrate keeper Olga Kazakova with a huntsman. Picture: Braden Fastier. Source: News Corp Australia

This month, the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife stated more huntsman spiders may turn up in homes and cars, looking for shelter and food.

Huntsman spiders have been found in kitchen drawers, under car sun visors, and have even run across car dashboards. They have been known to cause traffic accidents.

The spider can grow up to 16cm in diameter in Australia – a 30cm specimen has been found overseas.

 Their large size, quick movements and unexpected hiding places mean they are highly capable at inspiring fear.

“They can go very very fast and they usually jump out of unexpected places so you often find them hiding in the bathroom somewhere, under a towel or something,” Ms Kazakova said.

“Of course, when you find something in your house this large, an unwelcome visitor in the middle of the night is always going to be a bit terrifying.”

It looks terrifying, but journalist Andrew Priestley proven there’s no reason to fear hun

It looks terrifying, but journalist Andrew Priestley proven there’s no reason to fear huntsman spiders. Source: News Limited

Don’t hunt the huntsman!

Huntsman spiders look creepy – they can grow up to 16cm in diameter, have hairy long legs and scuttle around places like curtains, cars and kitchen drawers.

They can bite and it does hurt but is rarely harmful.

As house guests, they earn their board by  controlling cockroaches, flies and other unwanted nasties, providing chemical-free pest control.

Weather is expected to drive more indoors and wildlife experts urge to leave the arachnids alone.

 But Ms Kazakova explained that they were unlikely to do any major harm to people.

Huntsmen can bite, and the bite can be painful. Ms Kazakova said unless you have an allergic reaction, which had never happened to her knowledge, a huntsman bite will not do any serious damage.

“They’re almost completely incapable of causing you long-term harm,” she said.

“They’re there to take down the cockroaches and the flies and all the other nasties you don’t really enjoy having around your home.”

 Huntsman shoot Wildlife Sydney Zoo

She said we have nothing to fear from the huntsman.

“If anything, I’d really let this guy have a place in your house for the winter and just let him do his thing, clean up your kitchen in the middle of the night,” she said.

“If it’s on the other side of the room, it’s definitely not going to come running over trying to bite you, perhaps maybe for a pat or something, but not for a bite.”

* PLEASE NOTE – the journalist in this video undertook this task in a controlled environment with a keeper at hand. Spiders can be dangerous and we advise people not to replicate this experiment without a trained keeper in a controlled environment.