Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Mysterious Cocoon

 Recently, all the students at our little yellow school were outside in the playground enjoying a beautiful spring day.  One of our six year olds excitedly ran over to me and said with great urgency,  “Mrs. P., come quick!  I found something!  I think it’s a cocoon!”  We quickly ran over to the side gate accompanied by an entourage of fellow students.  This is what we saw.

The Mysterious Cocoon - The Side Gate
There were actually two.  One was on the side gate and one was on the deck.  Can you guess what they are?

The Mysterious Cocoon - The Deck

He had found spider egg sacs!  Little baby spiders were beginning to crawl their way out of the sacs. 

The children were fascinated by the little baby spiders and kept going to check on them. 

By the end of the school day, the little spiders had all crawled away.

The hatching spiders brought to mind the classic children’s story, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.  Originally published in 1952, Charlotte’s Web is a book that continues to resonate with readers young and old.  It is the story of a little girl named Fern, her pig Wilbur, and a spider named Charlotte.   I went home that evening and dug out my childhood copy, now yellowed with age.  Our experience in the playground reminded the teachers of a part in the story.  In Chapter 22, A Warm Wind, Charlotte’s babies are born.   (The following excerpt has been condensed.)
One fine sunny morning, after breakfast, Wilbur stood watching his precious sac. He wasn’t thinking of anything much.  As he stood there, he noticed something move.  He stepped closer and stared.  A tiny spider crawled from the sac.  It was no bigger than a grain of sand, no bigger than the head of a pin.
I have added Charlotte’s Web to my pile of summer reading.  Re-reading it will be just like visiting with an old friend.  If you have never read it, it is well worth reading.  If you have read it, perhaps this summer is a wonderful time to share this endearing story of friendship with your own children. 


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