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

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,634 Ratings  ·  244 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 1973)
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
Sep 19, 2012 Rahima.wahid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2015 Emily Uebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I really, really liked the bright, bold geometric illustrations in this book. It feels like the inspiration to a really great art lesson...perhaps designing other African animals using geometric shapes or maybe something with block printing. I love the illustration of the white web with the children spiders on it. (There are some art projects I saw online withAnansi but none that are quite what I was hoping for...may have to play around with this.)

Fun porquoi tale of the Ashanti people explainin
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
Apr 13, 2012 Nicole Doerr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
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 liked it  ·  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
Jul 22, 2009 Janessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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
May 25, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Anansi story is very different from the many out there about the trickster spider, but no less enjoyable. The Anansi stories and this book are great tales to share with students interested in connecting with African culture. I used this book with a small group of struggling readers in an Independent Reading class and it was a big hit! For many of them the idea of reading a tale from an African tribe was exciting in its own right, but they all enjoyed the story as well. The illustrations hav ...more
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
Oct 22, 2014 Alexis Keable rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 09, 2014 Memory Kopp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 25, 2011 Mary Keller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cris Gomez
Jun 14, 2015 Cris Gomez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Anansi the Spider: A tale from Ashanti" is a great folktale to read with students. Last week, I read it with my Kindergarten class as we started our folktale unit. It was the first time we read a folktale this year and it left my students wanting to read a lot more. The tale focuses on a spider, Anansi, who begins a long and difficult journey. Throughout the book, Anansi is threatened by a fish and falcon, but is saved by his sons.

I was particularly fascinated by the illustrations of this tale
Jan 23, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: january-2014
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 Hansen
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.
May 02, 2011 Shannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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.
Brianna Jensen
Anansi the Spider is a brightly-colored cultural tale from the Ashanti people of Africa. The story is about Anansi, who has six sons--all of whom have a special trait or talent. In the story, the sons save Anansi from the terrible Fish and Falcon and when trying to decide whom to award the beautiful globe of light, Anansi calls upon Nyame, the God of All Things. Eventually when Nyame sees the fighting over who should win the prize, he decides to put it up into the sky to illuminate the night fro ...more
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
Nicole Survis
Jun 14, 2015 Nicole Survis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anansi the Spider was a necessary addition to my folktale text set. Trying to encompass different perspectives in my classroom, I like that this tales comes from Ghana. The story's good message coupled with its beautiful illustrations are not only captivating to my K students, but also excellent for teaching the importance of working together. A great text to use for reading comprehension, this book builds upon itself and offers the opportunity for students to dive deep with the text. This is a ...more
Oct 05, 2015 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caldecott
1973 Caldecott Honor. Favorite Illustration: Anansi in the fish's belly. The stark colors showing the fish's brain, eye, and digestive tract were amusing to me.
This is a tale based on the African stories of Anansi the Spider-Man. Anansi goes on a journey and gets into trouble, and his six variously talented sons come to the rescue. I liked this story a lot; often the tales of the many sons become a bit monotonous to me, but I really enjoyed this version. Also, the bright, patterned illustrations
Shannon Brasher
This was a very enjoyable book to read. First of all, I enjoyed the vibrant colors and geometric illustrations of this Caldecott Honor book. The book has a fantastic tale to tell and it is great for children to read stories from other cultures which tell about mythology, folklore, and oral traditions. I liked the fact that all of the sons had a special gift which aided in the rescue and how in the end, the story explains how the moon became placed in the sky. I can see this book being used as no ...more
« 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
  • It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
  • Hush! A Thai Lullaby
  • Abiyoyo
  • Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky
  • A Story, a Story
  • The Talking Eggs
  • The Emperor and the Kite
  • The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
  • Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book
  • The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
  • Goggles!
  • Borreguita and the Coyote (Reading Rainbow Books)
  • When Clay Sings
  • Hildilid's Night
  • Thy Friend, Obadiah
  • On Market Street
  • Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale
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...

Share This Book