Publisher’s Weekly Review of King David and Akavish

King David and Akavish cover

King David and Akavish the Spider

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. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)