Anansi the Spider - Gerald McDermott (1972)

ISBN 10 : 08050 0310X
ISBN 13 : 978 08050 03109
                     (Caldecott Honor - 1973)

    (Note : This is a West African folktale from the people of Ashanti, from Ghana. Kwaku Anansi is a clever trickster, who takes the form of a spider and characters of a human. He is a legendary character in many of the West African stores.)

Who kept the moon on sky?

         For ages, we have been looking upon moon at night times. But, who kept it there, in the first place? (Okay, we can forget astronomy for some time.) This enchanting folktale from Ghana gives the answer to that question.

        Kwaku Anansi (spider) has six sons. They each has an unique power and named after their power. (Their powers and names are binded in the story.) Once, when away from home, Anansi falls into a river and is eaten by a fish. 

       The first son, 'See Trouble' , senses his father's trouble from a long distance. The second son, 'Road Builder', spins web and takes all the other sons to the place. The third son, 'River Drinker', drinks the entire river and finds the fish. The other three sons, 'Game Skinner', 'Stone thrower' , 'Cushion' also, save their father with their powers, from the fish and then from a falcon.

        Now, Anansi wishes to give a great globe of light (which he found in the forest), to a son who rescued him. Since they all argue about this, Anansi gives the light globe to the God, Nyame. Nyame takes it to the sky and still today, the light globe remains there (Moon!).

     Publisher : Henry Holt and Co.

     Classification : Folktale, Myth

     Age : Preschooler, Kindergartener, Grades 1-3

My Comment :

       I believe, all folktales are eminent resources of wisdom and perpetual knowledge. And this story is also no exception. The strategic use of the power of Anansi's sons, proves the wisdom of the anonymous person (or people), who created this tale in the first place.

        As a Caldecott Honor Book, the illustrations (by the author Gerald McDermott) in this book are unique and deserve a special mention. After reading the book to my kids, I took my time to enjoy the illustrations:

  •  The depiction of the human face and spider body Anansi.
  •  The differentiation of six sons of Anansi, with the symbols on their body, relevant to their powers.
  •  The spider web patterns, in the book.
       I wondered about all these minutiae in the book. The narration is lovely with the unique pattern. (At first, I felt a little odd, to read the book, due to this. But around second time, I can follow it.).

      Reading folktales always makes me wonder about the process through which the tale was created first. For sure, a child in West Africa had asked why the moon is on the sky, ages before and hence the story.

Good Books cannot be confined to one single blog. That's why I keep them here too. Click and follow:


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts with me

Blog Archive