"Seven Spiders Spinning" is book one in the "Hamlet Chronicles" by Gregory Maquire. In this book we are introduced to Miss Earth and her class room of entertaining students. Each student is portrayed as their own individual, with their own quirks, and their own preferences. It can be hard to keep a large cast of characters individualized and portray them well, but Maquire rises to the challenge magnificently!
I love the way the books starts, so I'm going to give you an excerpt.
"Countless thousands of years ago, give or take a couple of days, a mama spider laid some eggs. She admired them and she rested a little. Then she killed the papa spider, to whom she wasn't deeply attached, and sat down to a satisfying meal. This was not a Great Evil. It was in her spider genes. She couldn't help it."
The story goes on to tell us that later that day the Ice Age started, and all the little spider babies we're trapped in a block of ice. We follow their frozen adventures as the block of ice goes from one place to the next, until they finally are revived thousands of years later in Hamlet. What follows is a story of hilarious suspense as the spiders seek to survive, and they are faced with a class room of students who manage to accidently kill them off one by one!