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Anansi the Spider

Anansi the Spider

by Gerald McDermott

Author Gerald McDermott has presented picture-book enthusiasts with yet another enthralling adaptation of a well-known folktale, this one from West Africa.

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.

Author McDermott is renowned not only for his work in world of mythology, but also for his talents in animation and illustration. These strengths combine to create a vivid tale, based upon an Ashanti legend that also draws visually from African design motifs. The pictures echo the traditional woven silk fabric of the Ashanti, into which they have long woven the rich symbols of their art and folklore: Sun, Moon, Creation, Universe, and yes, Anansi, the Spider. Winner of a Caldecott Medal, Anansi is a stunning read

6, 7, 5
Interest Level
Grades K - 2
Grade Level Equivalent
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading
Henry Holt & Company
Number of Pages
Classics, Fables, Folk Tales and Myths

About the Author

Gerald McDermott Gerald McDermott (1941-2012) was an internationally acclaimed author-illustrator, winning the Caldecott Medal and two Caldecott Honors; his body of work includes six popular picture books focusing on the trickster motif.

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