Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti

Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti

by Gerald McDermott


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Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief maker, and a wise, lovable creature who triumphs over larger foes.

In this traditional Ashanti tale, Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey. Threatened by Fish and Falcon, he is saved from terrible fates by his sons. But which of his sons should Anansi reward? Calling upon Nyame, the God of All Things, Anansi solves his predicament in a touching and highly resourceful fashion.

In adapting this popular folktale, Gerald McDermott merges the old with the new, combining bold, rich color with traditional African design motifs and authentic Ashanti language rhythms.

Anansi the Spider is a 1973 Caldecott Honor Book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805003116
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 03/15/1987
Series: CBB Series
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 84,925
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile: AD430L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 7 Years

About the Author

Caldecott Medalist Gerald McDermott's illustrated books and animated films have brought him international recognition. He is highly regarded for his culturally diverse works inspired by traditional African and Japanese folktales, hero tales of the Pueblos, and the archetypal mythology of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It was his fascination with the imagery of African folklore that led him to the story of Anansi the Spider. McDermott was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Cass Technical High School, where he was awarded a National Scholastic Scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Once in New York, he began to produce and direct a series of animated films on mythology in consultation with renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell. These films became the basis for McDermott's first picture books. Among his many honors and awards are the Caldecott Medal for Arrow to the Sun, a Pueblo myth, and Caldecott honors for Anansi the Spider: A Tale from Ashanti and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest. In addition, McDermott is Primary Education Program Director for the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

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Anansi The Spider 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
kimbrady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an folktale of the Ashanti people in Ghana, Africa. Anansi is a huge spider with some human features. He has six sons. The basic plot is that Anansi goes for a walk one day and gets in trouble with a fish, then a falcon. All six sons help save their father. He finds a glowing orb in the forest and wants to give it to one of his suns as a reward, but he can't decide who to give it to. He asks Nyame, the God of all things, for advice. The problem is resolved when Nyame takes the glowing globe high into the sky where all six sons can enjoy it; this is how the moon got in the sky. McDermott's colorful and sharp illustrations, influenced by African patterns, were awarded a Caldecott honor. This is a good book for reading aloud or acting out, because the text is written to mirror the cadence of African English speech. Stories like this one, which explain how something came to be, are sometimes called porquoi (from the French word for "why) or just so stories. The story is also useful for promoting multiculturalism, particularly in showing that other cultures may believe in different gods, and have different ways of understanding the world and how it came to be. This is a great book for a public or school library children's collection.
kaitye24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved it. Great for storytime for small children
fatlamb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the prologue of this story mentions the original source for the tale. This story is from a long established culture, the Ashanti of West Africa, in the country of Ghana. Anansi the spider is a folk hero to the Ashanti, an animal with human qualities a mischief maker into many of his troubles. The plot is simple, a spider has six sons and the sons save Anansi the father of the spiders, in doing so the sons use their gifts in order to save their father. When it comes to reward their sons the father does not know who to give the reward to which is a big ball of white light... thus the white light goes up into the sky where it has always been and always be. A story explaining how the moon became. The illustrations are different, bright, colorful, and engaging, not surprising that the book is a Caldecott Honor Book. The story I believe from what I would guess I know about Western Africa represents the cultural norms... folktales regarding the sun, moon, creation, universe, etc... The story really did not do much for me, spiders killing a fish, spiders throwing stones at a bird for the rescue of a dad spider who's adventure landed him into trouble.Ages 5 and up.
Nikelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:Anansi the spider is a tale of how the moon was put into the sky. Anansi was a spider and he had many sons, each with his own special talent. One day Anansi went traveling and ran into some trouble. One of his sons could see that their father was in trouble so they all rushed to save him. Each of his sons contributed to saving their father by using their special talent. One night Anansi came across a big, glowing ball of light. He decided that he wanted to give this to one of his sons for saving him, but he couldn't decided which one deserved it most. So he called to the God Nyame to ask for his help. He asked him to hold the ball of light while he decided which son deserved it most. When he told his sons about it, they all began arguing. When the God Nyame saw this he decided to put the ball of light up in the sky and it remains there today.Personal Reflection:I believe that this story does of good job of teaching that everyone is special. Everyone may not be the same or be able to do the same things, but everyone has their own special talent. I think that the illustrations do a good job of keeping the feel of the culture in the book.Classroom Extension Ideas:1. I think it would be special for the kids to sit in a circle and go around and each one say what their special talent is.2. Have the children say what super power or talent they would have if they could pick any in the world, and how would they use it to help people.
KaseyPlumbtree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summery: This is a story about Anansi the Spider he has six sons each of them have a gift. One day when Anansi gets into trouble each of his sons gifts come into play to help save Anansi's life. He rewards his sons with a gift of the moon but can¿t decide which son to give it to so he puts it up in the sky for all to see.Personal Reaction: This book is great for children it is very colorful and motivating. The illustrations are very good and the story is something most kids will have never heard before.Classroom Extension Ideas: To inform the Children in a class discussion that it is okay to be different and to express ones self, ask the children if they have any questions about the book. Have the kid¿s drawl a picture of what they think the moon looks like that Anansi gave his sons.
sunnysturdivant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: This book is about a spider named Anansi. Anansi has six sons. Each one of Anansi¿s sons has a unique name: See-trouble, Road-builder, River-drinker, Game-skinner, Stone-thrower, and Cushion. Each of their name is based on a talent that they possess. One day Anansi went on an adventure and got in trouble, but his son See-trouble could see that his father was in danger. All of Anansi¿s sons set out to help rescue their father. Each sons used their unique talent to help save Anansi. Because his sons saved him he wanted to reward them with a bright light that he found. However, Anansi couldn¿t decide which of his six sons to give it to. So then he decided to hang the bright light high in the night sky for all to enjoy. As it turns out the bright light was the moon. Personal Reaction- I think this is an awesome book regarding culture. I also think the author did a very good job of telling a traditional story about family and how they should work together while incorporating culture in the illustrations. This is definitely a book that I would want to read to my class when we discuss culture. The setting/culture of this book is from Ghana.Classroom Extension- (a) I could have me students draw spider pictures and color them of their family members to hang around our classroom. (b) As a class we could look at other things from this culture to help students have a better understanding the illustrations and people of Ghana. In addition we could look at a map together to see where the country was located, and possibly discuss other traditions and characteristic of Ghana culture.
LeilaniKTaylor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anansi the spider gets lost one day in his travels, and each one of his 6 sons work together to use their special gifts to help bring their father home safely. Anansi wants to give one of his sons a prize for his rescue and cannot decide which son to give it to, so he asks for help from God, whom placed his gift (the moon) in the sky until Anansi decides which son deserved it most. I thought the story was special how all the sons were able to use their gifts. It was a little dissapointing that Anansi only wanted to reward one son because they understood each others special gifts and worked together so well to use them, I did not want to see them turn against each other. The illustrations were beautiful and colorful, it was a great way to represent the African culture and share a folklore from the Ashanti people.A great story to open up a discussion by asking if they think Anansi was right that only one son should get rewarded. And then talk about how the brothers used teamwork, and how they decided which gift would help solve each problem.
TheMightyQuinn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anansi has six sons, each with their own talent, when Anansi falls in the river his sons use their talents to rescue him. Anansi finds an orb and decides to give it to the son who saved him, since he can't tell which son saved him he asks a god to hang it in the sky and it becomes the moon. Both the text and the illustrations support an authentic voice (as far as I know). The pictures are boldly colored and contain small, pertinent details for careful observers. Excellent addition to any picture book collection for all ages.
onyx95 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anansi the spider has 6 sons. Anansi runs into trouble and his sons find a way to save him. The all deserve a reward but only one reward is found, who to give it to is the dilemma. Maybe the ¿God of all things¿ (Nyame) can help.I am not familiar with African folklore and mythology, this one is new and very interesting to me. While it was written in a different cadence than most kids stories, the kids followed easily and understood the story. It even left it open for more conversation, by not saying everything out right and letting the kids form the conclusions. Such brilliant geometric designs in the background of the pictures also led to talk about cultural differences between here (in North America) and there (set in Ghana, Africa), while the pictures of the spider brothers were colorful and well defined enough to make it easy to follow which was which. The kids really enjoyed the adventure of the father, Anansi and the ending, they liked it because they were able to tell me the meaning of the final page.
PeterSinclair on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The pages of this book are fun and intriguing. You can stare at them for a while. The story is of a father who has six sons with special talents. They use their talents to save the father. When the father can't decide who to reward, he calls on Nyame, god of all things to help him. Nyame rewards them all with a bright moon in the night sky.
AngMarWilson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a father spider and his six sons. Each son has a very special gift. Father spider got lost one night. Each son, using their gift, helped rescue their father. Father spider was so thankful for his sons. One night, father found a beautiful, white globe and wanted to give it to the son that deserved it the most. He could not decide who deserves it the most so it sits in the sky until he does.I thought this was a cute book with a happy ending. Positive teamwork is important. Everyone is special in their own way!I would have students create a spider out of construction paper. As another part to this activity, I would have my students create a special talent/gift that their special spider would have.
Jessica24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was about a spider named Anansi, He had 6 sons and named them See Trouble, Road builder, River drinker, Game skinner, Stone thrower, and Cushion. As we read, father gets into trouble and each son is able to help their father with each of their talents. Father found a gift for one of his sons for helping him, but did not know which one to give it to since all of them helped him. He called Nyame, The god of all things, to hold on to this gift. As they continued to argue, Nyame took it and put it in the sky. It is the moon.I enjoyed this story because it had suspense when we did not know what the gift was until the end. It relates to real life because it makes children think if thats really where the moon came from. In the classroom, I would make spider cupcakes with different characteristics and ask the children to give each a name based on the characteristics. I would also have a poll to see where each child thinks the moon came from.
NemaGuoladdle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is about a father spider and his 8 spider sons who all have different gifts for various reasons. The father gets in a bad situation and the sons set out to find and in the end help their father by using their special gifts. In the end, the father is so appreciative of each son that he doesn't know how to give which son the one gift he has to endow with. So, he asks the Creator to decide for him and in the end the one gift ends up being shared by all and not just by the spider sons alone. I really liked the story because it was teaching from a mythological stand point that a lot of cultures teach from in the history of their cultures. A lesson in life so to speak. The illustration was very bright and colorful and caught ones attention very well. I would use this in my classroom not only for the colors of the book and how it captures the attention of children but also to teach children how mythology is used to teach people human lessons in life. I probably would use this with a third grader class or there about.
kshielee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is a clear distinction between good and evil in this story. The evil is trying to get rid of Anansi while the good is his sons who rescue him. The story has a focus on working together to reach a common goal and how everyone has an important role to play. The author notes how this story has been passed through generations of the Ashanti of West Africa in Ghana. The setting of this story is not descriptive. There is no time setting other than long ago. The place I assume would be in Africa since the story has been passed down through generations in that area, but there is no specific support for the story taking place in Africa.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw this book in my friend's house. After I read to my daughter, she immediately loves it. This is the "every day must read" book for her now.
ZalZK More than 1 year ago
Perfect for kids and adults to discuss - simple problem yet the answer can be fun to explore with your kids. So enjoyable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is fun to act out and my kids just love it. They are six years old now, but they have been enjoying this story since they were tiny. And now they are reading it on their own. It's a great children's book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will capture any child's imagination. The story remained in my memory from kindergarten >30 yrs ago, and it is now the first book my daughter sits and intently focuses on cover to cover.