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Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  5,118 Ratings  ·  285 Reviews
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,
Paperback, 48 pages
Published March 15th 1987 by Square Fish (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

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Sep 19, 2012 Rahima.wahid rated it it was amazing
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 ...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
Ken Moten
Jun 23, 2016 Ken Moten rated it it was amazing
As I was reading the novel Homegoing, there was one character that would periodically be referenced: Anansi. Anansi is a figure from Ashanti folk religion. He is the Ashanti trickster god (think Loki in Norse mythology and Son-Goku in Chinese folk religion).This is one of those mainstay books of my early school years. I would read many books featuring Anansi the Spider, but this book stands out on apart of its spellbinding cover. Though Anansi is usually the antagonist/trickster mentor in Ashant ...more
Noelle Jensen, Age 4
Apr 30, 2016 Noelle Jensen, Age 4 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: daddy-should-buy
I don't like spiders. I like it when the spider gets eaten by the fish.
Amairani Medina
Oct 16, 2016 Amairani Medina rated it really liked it
If you work with elementary students in the early grades, you know they're always asking, "Why? Where did it come from? What's this? What's That?" Their curiosity and their thoughts are always running a hundred miles per hour. The moment they ask where the sun comes from, this book would come in very handy.

Anansi the Spider is a great folk tale that describes how the sun came to exist. Anansi has six sons: see-trouble, river-drinker, stone-thrower, game-skinner, road-builder, and cushion. These
Oct 11, 2016 RLL22016_beatrizmatamoros rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Anansi The Spider is an african folklore story from the Ashanti tribe from west africa. Anansi the spider of the ashanti people had six sons. The story goes on as Anansi goes far away from home and gets in trouble and his six sons go to the rescue to help out. Anansi the spider and his six sons ran into more trouble trying to get home but they look for each other. In the end Anansi and his sons get home safe. While Anansi had difficulty giving his sons the prize of a light globe. Nyame is the ...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 ...more
Emily Uebel
Apr 29, 2015 Emily Uebel rated it really liked it
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
Nicole Doerr
Apr 13, 2012 Nicole Doerr rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 18, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it
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
Katy Avoli-miller
Aug 01, 2012 Katy Avoli-miller rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jul 22, 2009 Janessa rated it it was amazing
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 ...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
Mary Keller
Sep 25, 2011 Mary Keller rated it really liked it
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.
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
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.
Apr 30, 2010 Julia rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 21, 2016 Victoria rated it really liked it
Shelves: elm-572
Anansi the Spider is a West African folk-tale that comes from the Ashanti people in the country of Ghana. Author, Gerald McDermott explains in the prologue that the Ashanti people have told this story, and many like it, for hundreds of years as a means of explaining why and how things have come to be.

In the book, Anansi, a spider with human like qualities, begins by naming each of his sons according to a specific ability each son possesses. He then goes off on a journey where he gets himself in
Nov 09, 2016 Fiona rated it really liked it
This book is based off a myth of the Ashanti people in Ghana. Anansi is an animal with human qualities that has many adventures, this being one of them. The story itself is very sweet; the moon was a gift Anansi was going to give to the son who helped him on this adventure, but because all his sons helped, he couldn't just pick one so the moon ended up in the sky for all to see and enjoy. The pictures are beautiful and look very tribal or native.
RLL22016 Rudy Carrillo
Oct 22, 2016 RLL22016 Rudy Carrillo rated it liked it
Shelves: traditional
I honestly never heard of anansi before and neither did my library the only thing they could find was this book. My librarian never heard of this book either. This book is a decent read but I had a hard time understanding what the meaning of this book was. I understand teamwork and the creation of the moon but I felt overall that the book was weak. Fun Story but the implementation of morals was not great.
Oct 19, 2016 denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with or without children
Recommended to denise by: my parents
Shelves: childrens-books
This has always been my favorite story when I was a child, and revisiting it as an adult brings back so many memories. A story of family and love, working together and trusting each other, I can find no better story to share with someone. This story is also timeless as it will have meaning for every generation.

When listing the condition of your book that you own here on GoodReads, instead of "poor" it should say "well loved". Just saying.
Chatashia Brown
Nov 29, 2016 Chatashia Brown rated it it was amazing
traditional, Africa, family, sharing
Nov 23, 2016 Keith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-and-ya
Ali Martini
African art, weaving, caldecot winner
Sep 30, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott is a re-telling of an African folktale centered around the character Anansi the Spider. In the folk tale, Anansi has 6 children. One day, Anansi goes for a trip and is swallowed by a fish. One of his children, called River Drinker, drinks up the river to expose the fish that ate their father. Another of his sons, Game Skinner, skins the fish to expose Anansi, but a falcon swoops Anansi up. Stone Thrower, another child of Anansi, thro ...more
Oct 11, 2016 RLL22016_beatrizmatamoros added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults and young students.
Shelves: traditional
Anansi The Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti is a great traditional book because it tells a story it symbolizes to the people of Ghana. Anansi The Spider is represented as a folk hero to the ashanti people. Traditional literature is appealing and memorable that have been passed from generation to generation. I found the meaning to traditional books and as I was reading Anansi the spider I discover that the folklore story symbolizes a culture tradition through story telling. Anansi the spider is a ...more
Zoe Hoisington
Oct 11, 2016 Zoe Hoisington rated it it was amazing
This is a good book to help younger readers understand a different culture but also the bond of family. This was done really well buy using spiders, this helps younger readers follow the plot. I like that the African culture is represented well and helps children learn different names as well. It was a good book I would recommend elementary school aged children may second grade.
RLL22016_Ashley Heath
Oct 11, 2016 RLL22016_Ashley Heath rated it it was amazing
This was such a beautifully illustrated book. Using only four colors and very direct clear shapes, the story sets up the folklore tale of Anansi. Though this story is a little more subtle in his chunning nature, it is definitely there. Even from the very beginning, you know he's setting himself up and he sure delivers, especially to himself.
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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...

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