- Age Range: 4 - 7 years
- Grade Level: 3 and up
- Lexile Measure: AD290L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 48 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Company; 1 edition (January 19, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805003118
- ISBN-13: 978-0805003116
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 91 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti Paperback – March 15, 1987
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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 Library Binding 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.
Top customer reviews
I especially liked how each character has its own shape in the illustration, its own special skill, and the lesson that while we are all different we all have something special to contribute.
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.
The character of Anansi is rendered with an expressive personality and face while his sons' faces are not shown--just their designs, bodies, and talents. Anansi's face changes emotions based on his experiences, and this would be an excellent teaching element for very young children upon hearing / seeing the story.
Themes & Talking Points the book offers:
Counting, colors, shapes, animals, teamwork, family, intro to Africa [Very Young Children]
Reading; Cause & Effect; Critical Thinking & Response; African Culture. How does Anansi get into and out of trouble? // Each spider is an individual with a specific skill or trait; each spider has a place in the family. What does this suggest about the culture of the Ashanti? // The rescue of Anansi is really a team effort by the sons, but who should get the reward? Does the ending solve this problem? [For children 5-12]
Reading & Design; Symbolism; Critical Analysis; Author Intent; Culture. Why did the author / illustrator choose not to show the faces of the six sons in the story? How does this choice affect the story? How does Anansi's face tell his story? What is the relationship between a son's name and his unique design? In what instances is Anansi's face NOT shown and why? What lessons are taught in this tale? What universal themes are present? Does this book deserve its "honor" designation? [For tweens through college students]