Kathryn's Reviews > Anansi Finds a Fool: An Ashanti Tale

Anansi Finds a Fool by Verna Aardema
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Oct 06, 10

bookshelves: childrens-picture-books, fairytales-folktales-mythology
Recommended to Kathryn by: Abigail A.
Read in October, 2010

I loved Anansi stories and "Just So Stories" and Brer Rabbit stories when I was a kid--and, really, they are all related. It's been a long time since I read such stories, but as I'm reading "Anansi Boys" right now, I was inspired to read more of the Anansi stories in picture book form. I'm grateful to my friend Abigail for recommending two excellent books for starters, "Anansi Does the Impossible" and "Anansi Finds a Fool" both by Verna Aardema.

In this tale, Anansi takes on his human form (he is often seen as a spider) and wants to some tasty fish--but he doesn't want to do any work so he gloatingly tells his wife that he will "find a fool" with whom to go fishing and trick that man into doing all the work. Annoyed, Anansi's wife tells this to her friend and the friend tells her husband and they cook up a plan to trick Anansi! It's really so funny and absurd how easily Anansi is tricked and the "moral of the story" is a treat ;-)

Of course, this could all be viewed as a lot of mean-spiritedness and maybe it is. Or, it could be viewed as a necessary lesson in humbling a very cocky person. (Really, there is nothing god-like about Anansi here!) But, gosh, I loved this sort of story when I was a kid--where you know the main character is getting tricked and they have no idea and you are so wise and all-knowing sitting there watching the story unfold ;-) The illustrations are lovely and luminous and add to the appeal of this charming folktale.

Something I loved about both the Anansi stories I read is that his wife, Aso, is very wise and cunning herself. No cowed woman here! Woo hoo!
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