Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for the Water Spider

America has Wonder Woman. Hungary has Wonder Spider.

A strange new spider moves into a little pond: He prefers to build a crystal palace of air bubbles under water, and wears another air bubble for pants when he swims around. He makes friends with creatures both on land and water, among them the grumpy, sarcastic Cross Spider. (Hey, this works as a pun in English!)
Vízipók-csodapók (Water Spider - wonder spider) is an animated TV show that aired 40 episodes between 1974 and 1984. It was made to educate children about life in sweet water ponds, and also various insects and creatures in and out of the water. The show was created with the collaboration of Bálint Ágnes, writer, and Dr. Kertész György, a biology professor from the Eötvörs Loránt University in Budapest. Thanks to their work together, the cartoon is not only adorable and colorful, but also biologically very accurate.
(Legend says the water snails were modeled on the professor's PhD students at the time).

What I love about this show is that each episode introduces fascinating, tiny creatures that you don't usually hear about - and they all exist in your own backyard! Water snails, sharp-edge snailssweet-water hydras, backswimmers, one-eyed copepods, caddisflies, dragonflies, color-changing flower-spiders, mole crickets, and more - and yes, I had to look all of those up in the English dictionary.

I am endlessly happy that I grew up with a cartoon like this. I always loved animals and nature (I also grew up reading Gerald Durrell's books), and Water Spider introduced me, and thousands of other children, to the tiny miracles right under our noses. I think it is the most amazing cartoon show Hungary has ever done.

Watch episodes of the show (in Hungarian) here.


  1. It looks adorable as well as educational - sounds like a great show.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  2. I'd love to see that show! I love learning about unusual animals. One of my favorite university classes was zoology.

  3. I'd love to see this too - on our TV! I was just checking out the Water Margin which the BBC hasn't ever put out in DVD for us - maybe we should lobby them for this, too!
    Jemima Pett

  4. Now that is a show I have seen, loved and would still watch again if I get a chance, educating and with such a lovable main character, God knows how much I wanted to live in his crystal palace myself. And yup you guessed it I watched in Arabic :D OMG! Hungarian cartoons are awesome!