Review: Sam Wu is NOT afraid of SPIDERS

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations



Book Title: Sam Wu is NOT afraid of SPIDERS (available here)

Author: Katie & Kevin Tsang

Illustrator: Nathan Reed

Publisher: Egmont

Publication Date: June 2019

Most Suitable For: KS2

Reviewed by: David Keyte, Year 3 Teacher and Maths lead


A thoroughly enjoyable page turner of a book filled with likeable characters and jokes aplenty, Sam WU is NOT afraid of SPIDERS would make a great addition to any Lower KS2 book corner.


This book, the latest in the excellent ‘Sam Wu’ series, continues Sam’s quest to prove to everyone (in particular his nemesis Ralph Zinkerman) that he is indeed extremely brave and certainly not scared (of everything).


After proving his courage across a range of different situations in previous books, Sam has shown that he is definitely not afraid of ghosts, sharks and even the dark. His latest trail comes in the form of a ‘Goliath Birdeating Tarantula’ that has escaped from a classroom at his school and is roaming the premises. This harrowing situation needs a hero, and there is only one person who fits the bill. With assistance from his loyal friends Zoe, Bernard, Regina and Sam’s little sister Lucy, Sam formulates a plan to catch the roaming beast and prove to everyone that Sam Wu is NOT afraid of SPIDERS.


While this book is brimming with funny situations and rib tickling one liners, there are some lovely underlying themes that permeate through the story too. The relationship that Sam has with his little sister Lucy shows just how valuable his sibling can be towards inspiring him to conquer fears and be a braver version of himself. Teamwork plays a strong role throughout the book, with members of the spider-catching unit that Sam has pulled together each playing a different role and working together to achieve a common goal. While subtle, mentions of diversity and cultural differences play an important role in the story. Sam’s family originate from Hong Kong and his heritage influences his day to day life, in particular his food preferences. It was lovely to see how small cultural nuances were drip-fed into the story, adding an authentic feel to some of the everyday moments.


I must pay mention to the work of Nathan Reed, whose illustrations truly brought this story to life. The book is filled with artistic detail on every page, something that I’m confident will appeal greatly to readers of all ages.


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You can order Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of SPIDERS online or from your local bookshop or library.




Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member David for reviewing it.

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