All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop

by | Mar 2, 2009 | Blog | 6 comments

nicbishopspidersSo in this book Nic Bishop, photographer extraordinaire, takes pictures of spiders and some of them even live with him and his wife. Yikes! He really is an incredibly talented nature photographer. Cari reviewed his book Nic Bishop Frogs and a new book about butterflies & moths will be coming out this spring.

Note about spider pictures: We understand that many people are let’s say less than fond of spiders and might be a bit jumpy. So other than the book cover we won’t be putting other pictures of spiders, although we will put links to some pictures so for those of you who are brave, curious or click happy you can check them out.

Cari: One night I couldn’t sleep after getting up with my baby so I decided to go upstairs for a little while and when I went back down guess what I saw on the floor? A Black Widow Spider. Yikes!!!!! So I thought, “Great I have no shoes on if I try and get my husband up he will hear the panic in my voice and come running out and step on it.” So, me being a resourceful person I went upstairs and grabbed the first thing I could see that might work – an empty sour cream container. Which amazingly worked and of course it woke my husband up with all the pounding on the floor and he comes running out. I’m shaking and he says, “what are you doing?”

“I just killed a black widow spider.” he looks down and sure enough belly up a nice red hour glass.

So of course I couldn’t sleep and went back upstairs and thought oh I’ll just do some blogging. The first blog I go to visit, had this book: Nic Bishop Spiders. It totally freaked me out. (Obviously I got over it enough to get it from the library).

Holly: I liked the book. I really liked the blue tarantula . . . cobalt blue tarantula.

Cari: We liked that one too. Especially the one where it is molting.

Cari: Did you read it with your kids?

Holly: Yes, we all read it together after I’d read it to my toddler several days in a row for nap time story- his choice. his favorite spider, again and again was the green lynx.

Cari: I wan’t going to read it to my daughter because I thought she would freak out from the pictures that are amazing and so realistic.

Holly: I think it gave my youngest son chills. It gave me the chills.

Cari: My daughter saw the book and asked to read it. She said she liked the book and that there was a spider that reminded her of her dad. A little puzzled I asked her, “Really?”

“Yeah, mom I want to find it.” She then turned to the page of the huntsman spider. Apparently, she heard it as the husband spider, and since it’s green and her dad likes green . . .

Holly: I love the the things kids think of!

Cari: I liked that each page had some facts about the spiders.

Holly: This is a Robert S. Sibert Award book. I remember what fascinated me is all the things he does to get the pictures and his wife even goes with him.

Cari: Yeah I’m not sure if my husband was in that line of work that I would be so willing to go with him. The pictures are freaky. It’s amazing so many different types of spiders in his book doing different things.

Holly: I liked the wolf spider page a lot. I had one for a pet in second grade. I think it died  because I didn’t catch enough flies.

Cari: Did she have babies?

Holly: She died right after she had the babies and I got distracted. I kept her in a big white  plastic peanut butter bucket. I really like the jumping spider fold out part.

Cari: Yeah me too.

Holly: I loved that he photographed a spider in the act of molting.

Cari: Amazing how many different types of spiders there are and how large and small some of them are, but most large ones don’t live where I do. Thank goodness!

And now for a trip down memory lane . . .

Cari: Remember when I had a dream that a spider was on your stomach and I saved your life by killing it with my bare hands?

Holly: Very well . . . actually, all I remember is being awakened in the middle of the night and seeing this hand coming down. “Whack! Whack!” By the third hit my brain responded and my hand stopped yours midair. I’m pretty sure my stomach hurt the next day.

Cari: But weren’t you grateful I was willing to go to such lengths to save your life? It was a big spider, a tarantula size spider.

This is the very same sour cream container used to kill the black widow!

This is the very same sour cream container used to kill the black widow!

Holly: Yeah, sure. . . but remember in real life, you weren’t even willing to kill the Black Widow outside your daughter’s room bare handed? You had to go get a sour cream container. Does that mean I’m more important than them?

Cari: Nope, sorry. I think it means I’m a grown up now and have greater powers of reasoning – especially when I’m awake.

Holly: I’m not so sure about that. (chuckle, chuckle) Do you remember the spiders in our basement growing up?

Cari: Those things were creepy.

Holly: Yep. I remember telling Mom and Dad that these spiders weren’t your ordinary spiders. If you saw one and left the room to go get a tissue, when you came back it would have disappeared. Completely.

Cari: Yeah, so then you started trying to trap them, so you could figure out what kind they were.

Holly: I remember being so frustrated when everyone would tell me they were just common garden spiders. I mean, come on! I had a pet spider for like two whole weeks in second grade. Doesn’t that mean anything?!?

Cari: Ummm. No comment.

Holly: (sigh) Thanks for the vote of confidence. So, anyway, I searched and searched with my specimens by my side, ready to compare. I never could find a match.

Cari: I left for college so I didn’t have to deal with them anymore. Except in the summers when I came home to work.

Holly: Our brother (yes the blanket lover) would go fetch me jars when the spiders came running out. We trapped them and then I’d study them. I thought that maybe they were brown recluse spiders, but they never had a violin shape on the top. I finally gave up and went to college myself.

Two years go by . . .Cari and Holly are now roommates at college.

Holly: Guess what! I picked up the school newspaper on the way home today and . . .

Cari: Anything good?

Holly: Just this amazing article on the front page. Did I tell you I was right, or what?

Cari: (gasp) Those are the same spiders in Mom and Dad’s basement.

Holly: Yep, they’re called hobo spiders and they are poisonous and practically blind, but they do sense vibration. That’s why they always disappeared when you walked away- they could sense.  your.  every.  movement.

Cari: (shiver down the spine) What a comforting thought.

Holly: So, I picked up extra copies to send to Mom and Dad. I can’t wait to tell them! I finally have proof!

Cari: I can’t wait to go home this summer and sleep with the spiders, that will be so fun! Not! (editorial note: once upon a time it was popular to say not after things you didn’t really mean)

The next summer . . .

Cari and Holly getting ready for bed, brushing their teeth, washing their faces, etc.

Cari: (ear piercing scream followed by a single bounding leap onto the countertop)”There’s a spider Holly! A spider!”

Holly: (also jumping onto the counter) “Where? Where?”

Cari: (trembling and giggling) “Over there! Crawling towards the tub!”

Holly: “Hey K! (our basement brother) bring me a jar!”

K: “No way! I’m not coming in there- there’s a spider in there. A Hobo spider. I’ll stay right here in my room, in the very middle of my bed, thank you very much!”

Holly: (muttering) “I’m not getting on the floor – those things have no vision! He might run right at me and he’s fast! Aha! The toilet plunger!  Okay Cari, I’m going for the plunger” (can we say Owen and Captain Plunger here?).

Cari: “Good idea.”

Holly: I’ve almost got it.  Just another inch. “There! Okay, I’ve got the plunger, now I just have to trap the spider.”

Cari: “Just cover him with it, then we know where he is.”

Holly: “Okay, done. Now what?”

Cari: “Let’s go get a piece of paper and slide it under like you do with the jars. Then we can shake him up and . . . we can’t drop him into a jar.”

Holly: “Yeah, he’s probably hanging upside down in there with no intention of dropping anywhere.”

Cari: “Dang it. We can’t squish him in there either.”

Holly: “At least we know where he is. But we can’t just leave him there.”

Cari: “Yeah, the little boys might try to play with the plunger. that would be dangerous.”

Holly: “In more ways than one.”

Cari: “I can’t remember how this story ends. . .”

Holly: “Me either.”

Cari: “I don’t want to be the heroine this time.”

Holly: “Oh puhlease! Do I have to do all the dirty work?”

Cari: “Pretty much. I’m the oldest that makes me the boss.”

Holly: “Could this be an indication of how the story ended? You probably sat on the counter and screamed while I went and got a shoe, and then shook the spider loose and smashed him to smitherines.”

Cari: “That’s sounds about accurate to me.”

Holly: “We did learn some good tips for spiders that ended up coming in handy. At least for me. I got married the next year and always slept with slippers under my pillow so I could put them on without having to shake them out first. My first two years of married life were spent in spider infested basements. I once found a really big one- we’re talking 2 1/2 inches in diameter floating in the toilet when I turned around to flush.

Cari: Oh, spare us the details!

Holly: Did I mention I’m a little nervous about spiders?

Cari: Why would you be nervous about them. I mean, come on! You had a pet spider back in second grade. (snicker)

Holly: Yeah, well usually that’s enough to calm the tremors, but we just moved into Mom’s basement last week while we look for a house to buy.

Cari: The basement. Eww! Gross. Good luck! Say hi to the spiders for me!

Holly: Thanks. I’ll be sure to send them your good wishes. I’ve sent 4 to a watery toilety grave so far- after squishing them of course. I don’t plan to make them suffer. Aren’t I so nice?

Cari: Oh, I’m sure they’re thanking their lucky stars!

This review is part of Nonfiction Monday hosted by Ana Maria at Books Together


  1. Laura Koenig

    This book is so completely awesome. I like to keep it sitting on my desk and wait for kids to pick it up and scream at the pictures.

  2. L. Owen

    I enjoyed reading your post on your spider experiences growing up, although I don’t know if I’m brave enough to pick up that wonderful book, let alone look at the photos. I’ll have to take your word for it that it’s amazing. Hope the home search is successful!

  3. Britt

    No. way. in. heck.

    Frogs is very cool, we have it out now, but there is no bloody way I’m checking this out. Nasty.

    On the flip side, you guys are hysterical. 😀

  4. hollybookscoops

    Laura Koenig- how fun! That must be delightful- my kids were fascinated.

    L. Owen- I think you could handle it. Most of the spiders are harmless. Don’t you have a bug lover at your house?

    I hope the home search is successful too. It’s almost like there are too many houses and too many places to choose from. When there are only a few, it’s easier to decide. But you know how we tend to overanalyze everything, right?

  5. caribookscoops

    Laura Koenig – I could see myself doing that as a teacher. I bet the kids love the book.

    L. Owen – It’s not as bad as it seems, at least in my opinion.

    Britt – Um aren’t you glad we put links to the pictures of the spiders. I really wanted to put them in, but though that the people who tend towards archanophobia would appreciate the lack of pictures. I highly recommend at least looking at the cobalt tarantula (have your dh look and show kid #1). It’s really cool. Yes frogs is really way awesome! Go frogs.

  6. hollybookscoops

    Britt- sorry I didn’t catch yours. I was commenting when you were. The spiders are not that bad. Nothing like that scary movie arachniphobia from the 90s.



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