Cover image for The spider ring
The spider ring
Harwell, Andrew, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [2015]

Physical Description:
213 pages ; 22 cm
Inheriting a spider-shaped ring from her grandmother, Maria discovers her very useful ability to communicate with and control spiders before catching the attention of the magic-hungry Black Widow.
Reading Level:
800 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 5.0 172403.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



A powerful ring. A dangerous web.

When Maria inherits a strange, spider-shaped ring from her grandmother, she doesn't realize she's also inheriting a strange power -- the power to control spiders and have them do whatever she wants. This is a pretty cool thing when it comes to fetching objects from another room . . . or if Maria wants to use the spiders to get back at some mean kids in her class.

But the power comes with a price. Maria has attracted the attention of the Black Widow -- who is trying to collect all the spider magic for herself. The Black Widow is not going to let anything stand in her way -- especially not Maria.

The story of the ring is being woven like a web -- and Maria is going to have to do everything she can to not get trapped within it.

Author Notes

Andrew Harwell is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. After growing up in the woods, he isn't scared of real spiders, but spiders in stories -- from the giant ones in Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to the Other Mother in CORALINE -- he finds absolutely terrifying. This is Andrew's first book for young readers. Visit him online at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Seventh-grader Maria Lopez loves her Grandma Esme, but she doesn't understand her fascination with spiders, not to mention the enormous spider ring Esme is never without. After her grandmother dies under suspicious circumstances, Maria not only inherits the ring, but she also gains the ability to control one of the Order of the Anansi-eight of the most feared spiders on the planet. As Maria learns the hard lesson Grandma Esme left her-"The spiders are your friends. Do not abuse their friendship"-she becomes involved in a sticky plot that has a driven villainess seeking to collect all the rings and thus control the entire Order. Amid the mystery of Grandma Esme's death, Maria meets the Amazing Arturo, her grandmother's partner from her traveling circus days, whose story, while providing important clues, is written in an abrupt flashback. This aside, the inventive concept and fluid descriptions in children's book editor Harwell's first novel combine to create a suspenseful and sometimes unsettling glimpse into the intricate behaviors of spiders, with a dash of magic for good measure. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Maria has never understood her grandmother's affinity for spiders, but then Grandma Esme dies and leaves her a spider-shaped ring-and a mysterious note: "The spiders are your friends. Do not abuse their friendship." Soon Maria realizes that the ring enables her to control spiders, which means that she can ask them to fetch things for her, improve her wardrobe, and even take the school mean girl down a peg. However, the appearance of a mysterious man from her grandmother's past leads to the revelation that the Order of Anansi is bigger than Maria could have imagined, and that she's not the only one with a spider ring. When her best friend's long-lost aunt comes to town, it soon becomes clear that she is the Black Widow of the Order's legend, and that her hunger for power, and for all of the spider rings, could threaten Maria and her entire family. This is a well-paced fantasy for middle-graders who do not suffer from arachnophobia.-Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Brighton District Library, Brighton, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.