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Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti
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Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  6,421 ratings  ·  405 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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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  6,421 ratings  ·  405 reviews

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Dee's Reading Zone
Reread: Still my favorite trickster tale of Anansi, the spider!

Anansi is a spider who was portrayed as a human in this West African Ashanti folktale. This vividly illustrated book was a 1973 Caldecott Award winner that I have read time and time again. This folktale told of Anansi, his six sons (See Trouble, Road Builder, Game Skinner, River Drinker, Stone Thrower and Cushion and exactly how the moon came to exist in the world. Although creatively told,
B. P. Rinehart
Jun 23, 2016 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 ...more
Noelle Jensen, Age 6
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't like spiders. I like it when the spider gets eaten by the fish.
Added at age 6: i likt this book because ol the spiders hafe pawrs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“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
Sep 19, 2012 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
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
Jon Nakapalau
Beautiful retelling of this important legend. Will teach the importance of working as a team to young children.
Dannon Hewitt
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Forever one of my favorite children’s books my son loved it!
Mary Keller
Sep 25, 2011 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.
Ms. B
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: honor, picture, folktale
A story about how we all have different talents. Did you know Anansi had 6 sons? Find out how the six of them use their various talents to save the day.
Nov 21, 2016 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
Amairani Medina
Oct 16, 2016 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
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book brings to life a folk-tale from the Ashanti people of Ghana, Africa. It follows a story of the folk-hero Anansi the Spider and his six sons to explain how the moon came to be in the night sky. The wording is simplistic and stylized, and while that makes it great for a young audience, it was the one problem I had with the book. The word choice and phrasing makes the book sound as if it was being told by one of the Ashanti people, but it is in fact authored by a white man from Detroit. ...more
Nicole Doerr
Apr 13, 2012 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
Emily Uebel
Apr 29, 2015 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
Jul 22, 2009 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
Molly Fitzsimons
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572
Anansi the Spider is an African Folktale from the Ashanti people of Ghana. The story is about a spider who has six sons, each with a special talent. One day when Anansi goes out for a walk and gets lost. He ends up getting into danger in more ways than one and each of his sons use their talents to save him in some way. Anansi decides that he wants to reward the son that saved him but has trouble deciding which one deserves the reward of the big bright ball. Which son is responsible for his ...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
Sep 24, 2016 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
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I recall reading Anansi stories as a child growing up on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands convinced that spiders magically possessed the ability to speak and influence other animals. The tales were vivid and captivated my imagination. The incredibly wise and mischievous Anansi was a parable master. The tales encouraged the development of virtues in a distinguished, worldly fashion only Anansi could possess. When I became a mother, I purchased a copy of 'Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti' ...more
Mollie Brandt
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book falls under the category of traditional children's literature known as a folktale. I loved the use of bright colors and 'blockiness' of all the shapes, especially the spiders. This story does a great job of depicting and bringing old folklore to life in a way that kids would understand. A lot of folklore lives today because of its' success in passing it on through other people, and this story was successful in making it understandable and readable for all ages. Although I think this ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: week-3
Text-to-Teaching Connection

Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti is an African folklore about a daddy spider who wanders off and finds himself in a dangerous situation. Luckily, his six sons come to his rescue and Anansi returns home safely. This book is full of patterns that emulate those found within the African culture. I would use this book to teach my students about patterns and types of lines by providing various art material to create their African spider. The students will also be
Briarwood Hollow
I liked this book. I think it would be a good book for firefighters to read. Anyone who wants to be a helper. - G, age 6

It was so brave. - R, age 3
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations in this are adorable and have so much character. I loved Anansi as a kid and this was a beautiful volume to revisit.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Bold, striking and memorable illustrations!
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
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: traditional-lit
Being a parent of one child can seem simple to care for, but to have six you really have your hands full. Dealing with six different personalities, strengths and ideas, how can you choose who will be the most deserving. Well for Anansi, an Ashanti King Spider, he had just this problem. He is the father of six individual male spiders that all had a special gift and they would do anything for their father. One day their father Anansi found himself captured by a fish and a bird. First son 'see ...more
Apr 22, 2009 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 ...more
Katy Avoli-miller
Aug 01, 2012 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
China Harris
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Anansi the Spider is an older book that won the Caldecott Honor in 1963. This animated African folk tale takes place in Ghana, Africa. The story features the main character Anansi, a spider with human qualities. When Anansi goes on a voyage and falls into trouble, his six sons come to rescue him. " And so they tried to decide which son deserved the prize. They tried, but they could not decide. They argued all night" (p. 40). Later, Anansi finds a beautiful light in the forest and decides to give ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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