Batty Fruit Salad
Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus, Part I

The Very Busy Spider

by Eric Carle


The Very Busy Spider is a wonderful tale that describes a very busy day in the life of an industrious spider. The story starts early one morning with the rising sun as the spider begins to spin her web. As the day and the web progress, the spider is visited by many barnyard friends who unsuccessfully try to distract her from her important task. Rhythmic wording, repetitive phrases and beautiful collage illustrations make this an enriching October pick.

About the Author

Eric Carle is the author and/or illustrator of some of our favorite books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar ; The Tiny Seed ; and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?.

When you visit the Eric Carle Official Website, you can learn about the author/artistsee a list of his books (over 40!)see a slideshow how Eric Carle paints his tissue papers with step-by-step photos, and see a slideshow of how he takes the painted tissue paper and makes the images. You can even visit his blog!

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in located in Amherst, Massachusetts.  Featured there are the originals of pictures from favorite children's books, including some those of Carle himself. 

In this Issue



Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus

Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus - Very Bust Spider - Eric Carle - Off the Shelf


Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus - Very Bust Spider - Eric Carle - Off the Shelf

adapted from Itty Bitty Bistro's Honey Whole Wheat Crackers.

  • 1 cup whole wheat, or white whole wheat, flour
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. In a food processor, place the flour, wheat germ, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and honey. Process until combined.
  2. Cut the two tablespoons of butter into 1/2 inch cubes. 
  3. Add cubed butter and water to flour mixutre. Pulse until a ball of dough forms. 
  4. Form dough into a rough disk (use a spatula to get out all the dough so you can use the food processor again for the hummus without washing it!).
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic and place in the fridge for about an hour. 
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4- to 1/8 inch thick.
  8. Using 2" and 2.5" biscuit-cutters, cut out rounds, dipping cutters in flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
  9. Place on a cookie sheet. Using a fork, lightly score the dough a few times (without going all the way through). 
  10. Bake about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.

Sweet Potato Hummus

Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus - Very Bust Spider - Eric Carle - Off the Shelf

adapted from Whole Living's Sweet Potato Hummus.

  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar
  1. Fill a medium sized saucepan half-full with water. Bring to a boil. Place cut sweet potatoes in boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. (Note: this step can be done before-hand. After cooking, refrigerate until ready to use.) 
  2. In a food processor, place the chickpeas; cooked sweet potatoes; tahini; oil; water, lemon juice or vinegar; and garlic. Process about 1 minute until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. 

Assembling the Spider Crackers

Young Readers in the Kitchen

Kids can spread hummus on the crackers, then assemble the legs and eyes on the plate.  

Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus - Very Bust Spider - Eric Carle - Off the Shelf

Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus - Very Bust Spider - Eric Carle - Off the Shelf 

Spider Crackers with Sweet Potato Hummus - Very Bust Spider - Eric Carle - Off the Shelf

For each spider you need:

  1. Spread 1 of the large and 1 of the small crackers thickly with the hummus.
  2. Top the hummus-filled crackers with the plain crackers.
  3. Quarter each carrot lengthwise.
  4. Arrange the crackers on a plate, and add four pieces of carrot on each side for legs. 
  5. Add cranberries for eyes. 

Barnyard Animals Creative Movement

The story of The Very Busy Spider involves several of the animals you would expect to find in a barnyard approaching the spider and asking it if it would like to frolic with them in their characteristic activity (such as a horse galloping). Prompt your child to act like each of the animals that visits the spider. Make sure you try it with your reader: Don't be afraid to act silly!

Can you...

  • Gallop like a horse?
  • Munch on grass like a cow?
  • Run in the meadow like a sheep?
  • Jump on the rocks like a goat?
  • Roll in the mud like a pig?
  • Chase a cat like a dog?
  • Curl up and take a nap in the sun like a cat?
  • Swim and paddle in the water like a duck?
  • Run around like a rooster and catch a pesky fly? Don’t forget to flap your wings!
  • Glide through the night sky like an owl?
  • Sleep in your web like a very busy spider?

Very Busy Spiderwebs

Weave your own web on a piece of black construction paper like the spider in The Very Busy Spider. Dipping the chalk in water before drawing prevents it from smudging and rubbing off the paper.

Very Busy Spiderwebs - The Very Busy Spider - Eric Carle - Off the Shelf

Very Busy Spiderwebs


  • 1 sheet of black construction paper
  • 2-1/2 “ square of green construction paper
  • 2-1/2 “ square of red construction paper
  • white chalk
  • brown pipe cleaner – cut into 8 equal lengths
  • glue
  • crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  1. With a piece of chalk, have your young reader draw their own spider web on the piece of black construction paper. Encourage free drawing – there is no right or wrong way to draw the web. 
  2. Once the web is finished, set it aside to dry. Give your child the squares of red and green construction paper and ask him to cut the edges off to make each of them into circles.
  3. Glue the circles on to make the spider’s body.
  4. Glue four sections of pipe cleaner on each side of the spider’s body to make legs.
  5. Use crayons or markers to give the spider a face. 


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