Anansi the Spider: a Tale from the Ashanti


Gerald Mcdermott

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The trickster and folk hero, Kwaku Anansi, is a spider with six even wiser sons. In the course of the story, these six sons come to fulfill the promise of their respective colorful names as they work together to rescue their beloved father.

When, one day, he wanders far from home and gets lost, seemingly the belly of a fish. The first son, called See Trouble, is the first to perceive that Anansi is in danger. Road Builder, the second son, builds a path for the six spiders to reach Anansi. River Drinker drains the stream where the troublesome fish lives, and Game Skinner splits open the fish to reveal Anansi, thankfully, still intact. But just as one problem is solved, another descends, and Stone Thrower, together with the last son, Cushion, join forces to rescue father Anansi from that scrape, too. Home safe at last, Anansi decides to reward the rescuing son with a great globe of light. But even with the help of the Ashanti god, Nyame, it is impossible to choose just one spider son. Aptly, the great globe of light is placed in the night sky to bless everyone., Anansi, the Spider.

Anansi the Spider is a 1973 Caldecott Honor Book.

Book Review

“The brief poetic text, complemented by geometric, African folk-style illustrations in pure, bold colors, provides a good introduction to this clever hero.” ―School Library Journal, starred review

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 the Ashanti and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest. In addition, McDermott is Primary Education Program Director for the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

Book Details

  • Format: Paperback, 48 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780590473408

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Cha (Cebu City, PH)
Wonderful illustrstion

My 5vyear old is hooked in the graphics. Storyline is simple enough.