Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti” as Want to Read:
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  3,955 ratings  ·  217 reviews
In this traditional tale from West Africa, Anansi, the Spider, sets out on a long journey. Threatened by Fish and Falcon, he is saved from terrible fates by his sons. But which of his six sons should he reward? The color, splendid design montage, and the authentic African language rhythms forge a new direction in picture books for children. Caldecott Honor Book. Lewis Carr ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 15th 1987 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1948)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Anansi the Spider, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Anansi the Spider

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
A spectacular set of stories I discovered whilst volunteering as a teaching assistant at a north London school. It was used as part of an assembly put together by year 4 for Black History Month.
Anansi stories are part of an ancient mythology that is rooted in West African folklore and concerns the interaction between divine and semi divine beings; royalty, humans, animals, plants and seemingly inanimate objects. These stories have and continue to provide a moral foundation for the community in w
Bryan Wilson
This delightful version of Anansi the spider comes from the Ashanti, a tribe of Ghana, and explains why the moon is in the sky. The story definitely has a very different rhythm than typical Western tales, with each of Anansi's sons playing integral roles in rescuing their father from peril. Perhaps the best thing about this book is the extraordinary collection of illustrations found within--with sharp edges and heavily-contrasted colors, each conjures playfulness and awe. Definitely a fun read f ...more
“Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti” is a Caldecott Honor Book from master storyteller Gerald McDermott and it is about how Anansi’s six sons try to save Anansi from all kinds of trouble he gets involved in. “Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti” may have a confusing sentence structure that younger children might not understand, but it is still a great book for people who are fans of Anansi the Spider.

Gerald McDermott has done a brilliant job at both illustrating and writing this s
Emily Uebel
This is a children’s folklore book that won the Caldecott Honor Book award. This book is meant for children of the age four and through age seven. This book is about a spider who has a human life personality and has six sons. Each son has their own ability, one can see trouble which helps to save his father’s life when one day he goes on a journey and gets eaten by a fish. All the other sons use their individual ability to help their father and the family ends up happy and safe. I will give this ...more
The world of traditional children's literature lost a gifted, prolific, and sometimes controversial artisan in Gerald McDermott on December 26, 2012. McDermott was twice awarded the Caldecott Honor Book Award (once in 1972 for this book being reviewed presently and a second time for his book entitled 'Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest' in 1993). He was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1974 for his art work in 'Arrow to the Sun'. The controversey surrounding McDermott's work is spe ...more
Nicole Doerr
Anasi the spider is a beautiful tale from the Ashanti people. This book written by Gerald McDermott is intended for preschool and school age children. It is a picture book and a folklore. It has received the Caldecott Honor. The story is about a spider who has six sons. All of the sons were named after the gift the had. Their names were See Trouble, Road Builder, River Drinker, Game Skinner, Stone Thrower, and Cushion. One day Anansi went out and got into some trouble. See trouble knew this and ...more
Katy Avoli-miller
Anansi is a spider that acts like a human in the West African folktale Anansi the Spider. This beautifully illustrated book was a Caldecott Award winner. The folktale is an important part of the oral tradition from West Africa. This particular tale tells the story of how the moon came to be. While this story is in the format of a picture book, it could also be used in various classroom settings. It could also be used to compare with American folktales to get a sense of a cross-cultural experienc ...more
Aug 18, 2011 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We attended a storytelling program at our local library that had a spider theme. Well, of course, one of the stories told was an Anansi tale. The librarian had put a selection of related books on a table in the back for children to borrow after the event, and we picked this one up. It was quite different from the Anansi books by Eric A. Kimmel, with a more angular and tribal illustrative style. We liked the bright colors and the simple, but powerful story. Our girls even decided to borrow the ki ...more
We have a little obsession with spiders at my house these days, and after reading several different reference books about spiders that the kids keep bringing home from the library, I picked out this one to read together. The kids instantly recognized that Anansi the Spider is written by the same author who created a book we own called Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest. McDermott's artwork is so unique, and captures so well the folk style of his storytelling, that it is unforgett ...more
Katherine Codino
This is a very abstract illustrated book. I enjoyed the geometrical lines and shapes that connected through out the page. It shows how a family working together can Perron large tasks. When everyone has their own strengths and comes together it proves that they are far stronger in numbers!
Travis Kesinger
Personal Reaction: Anansi the spider is one of the most well known folktale characters in the world. I simply couldn't do this project without reading an Anansi book. I though that this story is particularly interesting because it combined traditional folktale lessons/morals with African culture. Outside of the plot itself, I loved the colors and the overall design of this book. I think sometimes the hardest battle in reading is keeping students engaged and the bright illustrations of this book ...more
Robert J
Anansi The Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti is a story that comes from Ashanti mythology. The Ashanti people live in West Africa and Anansi the Spider has been part of their culture passed down through generations. This story involves Anansi who takes a long trip and gets into big trouble when he gets lost. His six sons, who each have a particular skill set that proves invaluable in saving him, set out to help their father. He is swallowed by a fish and later picked up by a falcon but each time a ...more
Alexis Keable
Anansi the Spider shares the tale from the Ashanti trip in Ghana. It is a folk-tale shares their belief in how the son was put in the sky. Anansi had six sons who all helped save him from death. While on his way home from his rescue, Anasi finds an globe of light in the forest. He was so enamored by this globe that he decided to give it to the son who rescued him. Seeing as that all of his sons helped with his rescue he had to decide which one to give the globe of light to. Unsure of what to do, ...more
This is a traditional tale of Anansi the spider who goes out on a long journey far away from home and away from his six sons. Each of his sons has a unique name, such as Road Builder, Cushion, See Trouble, River Drinker, Game Skinner, and Stone Thrower. While on his journey, Anansi gets lost, and eaten by a fish. His son, See Trouble could sense that his father was in trouble, and alerted the other brothers. This set a chain reaction of what the brothers could do to save the father from this Fis ...more
Anansi the Spider is an African Folktale for children aged 4 – 7 years. It is a Caldecott Honor winner. This tale tells of a spider with 6 sons, all of whom help save him when he finds himself in trouble. As a reward, Anansi wants to give the son that saved him a white lighted globe. Because they cannot decide who truly saved him (they all did) the globe was placed in the sky and remains there today. There are so many things that children can learn from this short tale. The first is clearly how ...more
Traditional Literature: Trickster Tale

Characters: Kwaku Anansi (spider); his sons, See Trouble, Road Builder, River Drinker, Game Skinner, Stone Thrower, and Cushion; Fish, Falcon, Nyame the god of all things

Setting: West Africa-- Ghana. A long way from Anansi's home

Themes: family, personal talents, personal triumph, mischief, rescue, cooperation

Summary: A retelling of a traditional Ashanti oral tale. Anansi the spider gets into trouble, is saved repeatedly by his sons, and wishes to thank them.
Memory Kopp
Ananasi the Spider is a Caldecott Award winning Folktale retold with Ashanti language and design. The Ashanti is a culture out of West Africa in the country of Gahana. Ananasi is a folk-hero of the Ashanti. In this story Ananasi the spider goes out on an adventure and runs into trouble along the way. He finds himself in the path of a hungry fish and falcon. He ends up being rescued from his dangers by his sons each experts in their own right. For example, when he finds himself in trouble his son ...more
Mary Keller
First off, the illustrations in this book are great! They are simple lines and shapes but seem so intricate and bright. The story is Anansi the spider and his six sons who all have a special talent. Each son helps their father in a difficult situation... the father cannot decide who is more deserving for a gift so he asks the all knowing spider who gives them the light in the sky (the moon). I like this story because it teaches the importance of helping and sticking by your family.
I enjoyed this book, it was one of my favorite books when I was little. It was nice to refresh myself on the story line. I like that the six sons are named after their talents to make it easy to follow this book. I also like that the six sons had to work together as a team to rescue their father using their six unique talents. This is a cool explanation as to why the moon is in the sky. I would use this in a math lesson about tallies to take a vote as to which son should get to keep the moon. Th ...more
In the story, Anansi's sons work together to save him from being eaten by a fish through using their talents together. Then a globe of light appeared and they fought over who should get the prize, so the God of all things decided to make it a moon in the sky for everyone to enjoy.

The illustrations were authentic to African culture in it's pattern and style. The simplicity of the symbols and artwork allows students to understand the story a little easier and gain insight as to traditional Africa
Don't have the words to express to you how deeply my students love this book. The art is unusual and appealing, the words are well chosen and beautiful in their spareness and the kids seem to love play-acting the characters. I wish I had a nickel for every argument that has broken out over which child gets to be 'Stone Thrower!'
Highly recommended!
Kristine Pratt
The art is kind of cool and very different. I liked the story itself, but the telling felt rough, especially the ending. With an ending that was rushed and almost felt tacked in. I liked the time and care given on the journey to rescue Anansi, but I wish very much that the same could be said of the last half dozen pages.
This book wasn't so great, but the discovery of it was. I cannot fully describe the joy I felt when I saw one of my formerly reluctant readers RUNNING up to me at the library saying, "LOOK, Miz Houghton! It's an Anansi book we haven't read yet! And I think it's by the guy who did Arrow to the Sun!" Priceless.
Natalie Mauro
This book is a folklore that won the Caldecott Honor award in 1973 and is intended for children 4-7 years old. The is an old African Ashanti tale about the journey a spider, Anansi, goes on. On his journey he is faced many difficulties that his 6 sons end up saving him from. Grateful, he is faced with the decision as to which son he should reward. As a result, it is explained why the moon is in the sky. The design of this book is a great way to introduce African art and illustrations, which is w ...more
Anansi the Spider: A Tale From the Ashanti, is a short picture book about the beloved Ashanti folk-hero, Anansi the Spider and his six sons. The tale is a pourquoi story describing how the moon was discovered and came to be placed in the sky. It begins by introducing Anansi and his six sons who all have different, specific gifts such as, “River Drinker,” “Road Builder,” and “Cushion.” One day, Anansi the Spider goes on a journey only to find himself in great peril. Fortunately, one of his sons ...more
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti (An Owlet Book) by Gerald McDermott is an adaption of the story of how Anansi is saved from terrible fates by his sons. Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey, but falls into water and is swallowed by fish. No sooner is Anansi rescued than falcon carries hi into the sky, but again the father is rescued by his sons. Unable to decide which son to give a shining treasure in reward for rescuing him, Anansi asks the God of All Things to keep it until h ...more
Genre: Traditional
Title: Anansi the Spider, a tale from the Ashati
Summary: The Ashanti tribe, of Ghana, retells the story of Anansi the spider and his six sons. After his indecision to decide which son he should gift the moon to, he decides to give it to the Ashanti god. While he ponders, the god decides to place it in the sky for all to admire. Thus, this tale gives a delightful explanation to why the moon hovers in the sky.
a) Area for comment: illustration
b) The strength of this title
Michelle Higgins
This book can be used with primary and intermediate students.
I chose this book because of a unit I taught to my 2nd grade students on folktales. I went online looking for folktales with lesson plans and activities and this book came up. After reading with my students, I really liked the book. My students also really enjoyed this book and wanted me to read it again the next day.
In the story Anansi goes on a journey and he faces many obstacles. He gets into trouble and is saved each time by one of
Natalie Sabbath
Main Characters: Anansi the Spider and his six sons
Setting: Ashanti, Africa
POV: Third Person

Summary: “Anansi the Spider,” is the folklore tale of a spider and his six sons who lived in Ashanti, Africa. Anansi has six sons: See Trouble, Road Builder, River Drinker, Game Skinner, Stone Thrower and Cushion. One day, Anansi travels far from home and falls into a river and a fish swallows him whole. His son, See Trouble, sees that his father is in trouble so he tells all of his brothers and they go t
Grade/Interest: Pre K
Reading Level: 290L
Genre: Traditional Lit
Main Characters: Anansi, six sons, Nyame
Setting: Africa
POV: narrator
Anansi the Spider is a folktale from the Ashanti tribe, is a short picture book about the beloved Ashanti folk-hero, Anansi the Spider and his six sons. This African folktale describes how the moon was discovered and came to be placed in the sky. It begins by introducing Anansi and his six sons who all have different gifts such as, “River Drinker,” “Road Builder,” and
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock
  • A Story, a Story
  • Abiyoyo
  • Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky
  • Hush! A Thai Lullaby
  • Borreguita and the Coyote (Reading Rainbow Books)
  • The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
  • The Talking Eggs
  • The Emperor and the Kite
  • It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
  • The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
  • The Story of Jumping Mouse
  • Swamp Angel
  • Peppe the Lamplighter
  • Thy Friend, Obadiah
  • Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions
  • Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book
  • Goggles!
Gerald McDermott is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and an expert on mythology. His work often combines bright colors and styles with ancient imagery.

He has created more than 25 books and animated films. His first book, Anansi the Spider, was awarded a Caldecott Honor, and he’s since won the Caldecott Medal for Arrow to the Sun and another Caldecott Honor.
More about Gerald McDermott...
Arrow to the Sun Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest

Share This Book