King David & Akavish the Spider
By Sylvia Rouss
Illustrated by Ari Binus
Paperback; 34pp $9.95
When a young shepherd boy aims a stone at a spider’s web, he never imagines that this small creature will one day save his life.
This simply written but moving tale of young King David - not without its humourous moments - takes a well-known midrash and shows us that one should not only be thankful for all of creation, but also that by using one’s own wits and very special talents anything becomes possible.
It’s a lesson for each one of us; a lesson for a king, and one that the future King of Israel never forgets.
About the Authors
Sylvia Rouss is an award-winning author and early childhood educator who created the popular Sammy Spider books and the Littlest series. She has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel.
Ari Binus is a Boston-based digital artist and animator. This is his ﬁfth children’s book.
About Apples & Honey Press
Apples & Honey Press brings together the best authors and illustrators from North America and Israel to create memorable stories for children that illuminate the values of family, community, having fun, and being the best we can be.
King David & Akavish the Spider Reviews
Rouss takes a break from her Sammy Spider series to recount a midrash story of the future King David’s encounter with a spider. While tending sheep, the boy uses a spider’s web for target practice, destroying it with his sling. After the spider, named Akavish (Hebrew for spider), protests, David apologizes and saves the spider’s life during a windy night. Akavish later returns the favor by building a web over the mouth of the cave where David is hiding from soldiers sent by a jealous King Saul. “See that web covering the entrance of the cave? It would be broken if David were inside,” says a soldier before moving on. Binus, who illustrated Rouss’s The Littlest Tree, gives the story a cinematic aura in images that have a sculptural, three-dimensional quality and a texture suggestive of thick layers of gouache. The message is delivered plainly (“Years later, when he became King, David always remembered that small acts of kindness can make a difference in great and surprising ways”), but several dramatic scenes keep the story from feeling overly instructive.
- Publisher's Weekly
Beloved local author Sylvia Rouss, of “Sammy Spider” fame, has a new spider-themed book, but this one is a newly minted midrash about King David that is appropriate for young children. The bold and engaging illustrations draw in readers as we follow young David practicing his slingshot skills and callously tearing a hole in the web of a friendly Judean talking spider named Akavish (“spider” in Hebrew).
Inspired by famed fable of “The Lion and the Mouse,” David saves the life of little Akavish, and goes on to play music for King Saul and also befriend his son, Jonathan. When David finds himself on the run from Saul’s jealous rage and armed horsemen (with an exciting two-page spread that looks like a scene from an action movie), David hides behind rocks and in caves, but eventually falls asleep. Little Akavish remembers David’s kindness from long ago and returns the favor, thus saving his life.
The last page states: “David never forgot Akavish. Years later, when he became King, David always remembered that small acts of kindness can make a difference in great and surprising ways.” A good lesson for children this holiday season and beyond.
- Jewish Journal