Tarantula Power!


Tarantula Power book cover

Richard is excited about the "Invent a Cereal" class project, but he's not so excited about having Kevin, the school bully, for his partner.  Inspired by a class pet, a tarantula, Richard works hard on his Crunchy Critters cereal.  He thinks it's sure to top his classmates' projects, even if he has to do all the work himself.  And when he decides to stand up to Kevin on behalf of a frightened second grader, Richard worries that his project, and his well-being, might suffer the consequences.  But all's fair in cereal and war, and it's Tarantula Power to the rescue.

Publisher: Holiday House, Inc., Spring 2007



"Richard doesn't think much of his fourth-grade classmate Kevin, who swipes his ideas and 'doesn't know how to be nice.'  When he learns that Kevin has been bullying Sam, a second grader, Richard decides to strike back. With the help of his friends, the class tarantula, and, eventually, his teacher, Richard find ways to help Sam stand up to Kevin. It's good to read a book on bullying without an easy answer. Only when Richard creates a whole community intolerant of bullying does Kevin see any reason to stop. Illustrated with appealing black-and-gray-tone artwork, this well-designed chapter book will have special appeal to readers who enjoyed its companion books, Meow Means Mischief (2003) and Dear Whiskers (2000). Once again, Nagda has created believable child characters wrestling with realistic problems that are challenging but not beyond their capabilities. The colorful jacket art, which features three happy children baring Dracula fangs, will certainly draw readers."

            --Booklist, Carolyn Phelan

"Richard is a mature fourth grader with a sense of humor. For a class project on nutrition, he is paired with Kevin, whose behavior is obnoxious. In a refreshing twist on the bullying theme, Richard interferes when Kevin picks on Sam, a second grader. He tries to protect the younger boy by tricking Kevin, which doesn’t work, but does provide a funny episode. With a little guidance from his teacher, he realizes that Sam’s lack of self-confidence fits hand-in-glove with Kevin’s meanness. When that is addressed, everyone grows, even readers. The convincing dialogue is crammed with interesting facts about nutrition, insects, and the classroom tarantula. The characters and the plot develop at a quick and mostly believable pace. Black-and-white wash illustrations match the action and give the book appeal for reluctant readers."

                         –School Library Journal


Awards and Honors

A Colorado Authors' League Award Winner