The Very Busy Spider

Written by Eric Carle

For ages 0 to 5

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This book is best for:
  • copying animal sounds
  • sequencing
  • simple narrative retell


Early one morning, the very busy spider starts to spin her web on a fence post. One by one, the various farm animals try to distract her, yet the little spider doesn’t answer and keeps working diligently to finish her web. The spider’s web is embossed onto the page so children can follow it with their fingertips.

The Very Busy Spider is an engaging multi-sensory experience for children. The rhythmic and repetitive text make it fantastic for developing children’s language. Young children love copying the animal sounds and learning the names of all the farm animals. The simple narrative structure of this book means that it is a good choice for children who are beginning to learn how to retell stories.

See the list below for further speech and language targets in this book.

Book Details

Narrative Structure: Action Sequence

Story Plot: Repetitive Tale

  • animals - farm, insects/minibeasts, spiders, birds
  • location - farm
  • animal sounds
  • diligence

Speech and Language Targets

Speech Sounds:
  • /b/ - busy, baa-baa, bark, web
  • /d/ - duck, cock-a-doodle-doo, didn't, spider
  • /g/ - goat, pig, dog
  • /h/ - horse, her
  • /k/ - quack, cow, cat, duck, oink
  • /l/ blends - fly
  • /m/ - moo, maa-maa, mud, meaow, farm, swim
  • /n/ - neigh, spinning
  • /s/ blends - spider, spinning
  • /w/ - web
  • /z/ - busy
  • adjectives (silky, pesty, beautiful)
  • copula (was)
  • negatives (didn't)
  • subjective pronoun (she)
  • possessive pronoun (her)
  • present progressive tense (spinning)
  • regular past tense
  • action verbs (ride, chase, swim, eat, roll, jump)
  • labelling
  • who
  • temporal (morning)
  • initiating conversation
  • traditional opening
  • character description
  • time
  • setting
  • sequencing
  • dialogue
  • direct character speech
Rhyme & Sound Awareness:
  • copying sounds
Book Info

Published by Puffin Books in 1984 (ISBN: 9780141338323)

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