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Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti Paperback – June 18, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 290L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Company; 1 edition (June 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805003118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805003116
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Anansi the Spider is a wise, funny, mischievous, and loveable folk hero who pops up in traditional Ashanti tales from Ghana, in West Africa. This story, retold and illustrated by Gerald McDermott, relates the tale of father Anansi and his six spider sons. When Anansi sets out on a dangerous journey and gets into all sorts of trouble, each son does one thing to help, and all their efforts together save their father. He finds a mysterious, beautiful globe of light in the forest, and decides to make it a gift of thanks. But which son should receive the prize? Even with the help of Nyame, the God of All Things, he can't decide, so Nyame takes the great globe up into the sky, and that's where it has stayed ever since--the moon, for all to see. This profound story reaches children of many ages; younger ones see it as an exciting rescue story, but older children are intrigued by the larger themes of cooperation and "the whole being more than its parts."

Anansi the Spider, McDermott's first book, received immediate acclaim and was named a Caldecott Honor Book. McDermott has retold and illustrated many other folktales and myths during his long career, including Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale, which received the Caldecott Medal, Musicians of the Sun, and a series of trickster folktales from around the world. He has a rare combination of skills, being both a gifted writer and a talented artist. His distinctive graphic style using bold shapes and brilliant colors is always striking, but is especially well suited to the story of Anansi, with traditional African motifs skillfully integrated throughout the art. This is a story that can be read over and over again! (Ages 4 to 9) --Marcie Bovetz --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

A clever folk hero proves himself resourceful in this bold and poetic tale. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I would really recommend this book to anyone with a young one.
r. kopisc
At 16, I spent hours crafting a cushion embroidered an illustration from the book that was a childhood favorite.
sethyed
In this book, the elaborate, geometric illustrations paint the "descriptions" that the text omits.
Arcturus70

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By sethyed on January 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Anansi stories have been handed down through generations of Ashanti culture. This book is a wonderful, vibrant and vivid story for children of all ages. Born in Ghana I left at aged 3, leaving much of the Ghanaian culture behind. At aged 30 I can still remember a song about Anansi the spider, the only remnants left of my native tongue. I was given the Anansi book as a child, it captivated me, I read it over and over again, and it provided a connection to my past. At 16, I spent hours crafting a cushion embroidered an illustration from the book that was a childhood favorite. Sadly, the book was lost and I never thought I could get it again. Now, some 14 years since I last saw the book I can still visualize the pictures and hear the wonderful tale of Anansi the spider, his sons and the moon. I have just bought two copies, one for my niece and one for my two year old daughter. I absolutely cannot wait to read them again and again and pass this memorable story to a new generation.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Arcturus70 on May 31, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of the Anansi tales, and the spider's adventures are delightful as well as thought-provoking. For edutainment (educational entertainment) and discussion, I include them in my high school / college level introduction to mythology / humanities survey courses. All ages can enjoy a clever trickster hero who possesses many human qualities, the good and bad--who makes us think about our own deeds and behavior.

In Anansi The Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti, Gerald McDermott retells an Anansi story with warmth, cultural sensitivity, and bright, attention-seizing illustrations. Among the children's books about Anansi, McDermott's efforts stand in a unique place because the text is used sparingly and with great effect, conveying important events only and not burying key ideas in lavish descriptions or dialogues. In this book, the elaborate, geometric illustrations paint the "descriptions" that the text omits.

Features that I like...

The map in the opening that shows the continent of Africa and the country of Ghana. (I'm always happy to see a bit of geography dropped into stories, especially those designed for children.)

The Prologue, which describes the importance of folklore, mythology, and legends. I especially appreciate this statement: "Folklore prepares man for adult life. It places him within his culture."

Rather than beginning the story with the familiar "Once upon a time...," the author uses "Time was..." which is cool! :)

Each of the spider sons in the story is unique in design, appearance, and talent, which makes him easy (and fun) to identify as the tale unfolds. The six sons are See Trouble, Road Builder, River Drinker, Game Skinner, Stone Thrower, and Cushions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
This story captured the attention of 18 pre-schools within a few seconds! Personally, I enjoyed this story, the unique characters and the "trickster" Anansi. The children loved acting out a skit about the 6 sons of Anansi by taping a "spider logo" to their shirt and acting out "cushion", see trouble" and the other brothers. I especially enjoy how McDermott exposes children to the beliefs of other cultures.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My knowledge of things African was limited as a child, so I have made a particular effort to expose my daughter to this part of the world. As I have done this, I have discovered that the themes which have made Western children's stories popular through the centuries are also present in African folk tales. This fact is further confirmed by this book. It is a tale of a family of spider children who work together to get their father out of a jam. Not only is the story entertaining and full of lessons, but the illustrations are gorgeous. They are as one would imagine an African child must dream: vivid colors and broad strokes which my three-year-old even thought were particularly "pretty." I highly recommend this book as an addition to any three-eight-year-old's library.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My 18 month old son loves the artwork in this book. There is a lot to talk about on each page. For the first time it seems that my son is following the story and not just dealing with one page at a time. He waits eagerly for the page when Anansi is swallowed by a fish (don't worry it is not violent in any way!) Since there are 6 spider sons there are lots of opportunities for counting. My 18 month old can now count to 6.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
A short children's book based on a folk tale of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana about the tickster Spider who is rescued by his sons and why the moon is in the sky. Children will enjoy hearing this story and even acting out its parts. The artwork is very appealling. The book was a 1973 Caldecott Honor book (i.e., a runner-up to the Medal winner) for best illustration in a book for children.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By aa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Anansi and his sons are popular guys in our home. My son and daughter (nearly 4 and 6) just adore them, and I enjoy the fact that this book demonstrates how well cooperation works. Not to mention that we get to discuss the story, Ghana, and how people are both like us *and* are different from us.

In this story Anansi heads out for a walk only to be besieged by problems, first from a hungry fish, and then from a falcon. He would have been lunch were it not for his caring sons who fortunately have super-arachnid abilities.

Four Stars. Good Read-aloud. Good story with a moral. My daughter even decided to practice reading this fun and exciting story.
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