Eileen Spinelli and Jane Dyer, the award-winning duo who created the best-selling When Mama Comes Home Tonight, team up once again to tell the charming and bittersweet tale of an exceptionally gifted spider and the lengths she's willing to go to share her gifts with those around her.
... Tonight (1998) weave another affecting tale, in which a gentle, eight-legged artist spends her last strength on a gift to a newborn baby. Though Sophie's ingeniously patterned webs are the delight ... of her Mama and playmates, when she moves into a drab boarding house, its residents react to her presence with fear and disgust. Most of its residents, that is—weary and aging, Sophie finds a home and quiet welcome at last when she crawls into an expectant young mother's yarn basket. Sophie's webs, all finer than the finest lace, ripple with stars, flowers, and geometric patterns in Dyer's delicately detailed watercolors. She herself cuts a stylish bohemian figure, with long, slender legs in multicolored stockings radiating from a black body topped by a flaxen-haired human head. Learning that the young woman is too poor to knit or buy a blanket, Sophie gathers strands of moonlight, wisps of night and pine, old lullabies, snowflakes, and, last of all, her own heart to create a gift that the new mother receives with "love and wonderment." Sophie may physically resemble the proud, angry protagonist of Kate Hovey's Arachne Speaks (2000), but her generosity of spirit gives her a very different character. (Picture book. 7, 8, 9)