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The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales

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Presents six tales about Spider, including: How Spider Got a Thin Waist; Why Spider Lives in Ceilings; How Spider Got a Bald Head; How Spider Helped a Fisherman; Why Spiders Live in Dark Corners; How the World God Wisdom


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Presents six tales about Spider, including: How Spider Got a Thin Waist; Why Spider Lives in Ceilings; How Spider Got a Bald Head; How Spider Helped a Fisherman; Why Spiders Live in Dark Corners; How the World God Wisdom

30 review for The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales

  1. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    I can't recall the first time I heard or read a story about Anansi - the trickster-spider whose many misadventures feature so prominently in West African folklore - but I must have been fairly young, as I seem always to have known about him. I was quite struck, consequently, by an anonymous online review of Joyce Cooper Arkhurst's 1964 The Adventures of Spider, which maintains that this collection, and its author, are responsible for popularizing the spider-hero in the United States. I have no i I can't recall the first time I heard or read a story about Anansi - the trickster-spider whose many misadventures feature so prominently in West African folklore - but I must have been fairly young, as I seem always to have known about him. I was quite struck, consequently, by an anonymous online review of Joyce Cooper Arkhurst's 1964 The Adventures of Spider, which maintains that this collection, and its author, are responsible for popularizing the spider-hero in the United States. I have no idea whether that is true, but my curiosity was piqued, and when I saw that this was also one of five-time Caldecott Honor-recipient Jerry Pinkney's first efforts, I knew I had to seek it out. Trained as a librarian, Ms. Arkhurst was apparently a storyteller at the New York Public Library, something which really comes through in her engaging retelling of these six stories. Here the reader will discover How Spider Got a Thin Waist, as a consequence of his greedy desire to eat two dinners, as well as Why Spider Lives in Ceilings, after a run-in with Leopard. Other selections include: How Spider Got a Bald Head, in which Spider's attempt to hide some baked beans in his hat leads to unexpected disaster; How Spider Helped a Fisherman, a tale in which the trickster is tricked (also retold by Verna Aardema in her picture-book, Anansi Finds a Fool: An Ashanti Tale ); and Why Spiders Live in Dark Corners, which relates the tale of how Spider faked his own death. Finally, in How the World Got Wisdom, the reader will learn of Spider's role in (accidentally) disseminating good sense. The humor of these tales is readily apparent, as is the teller's fondness for them. Pinkney's illustrations are somewhat crude, in comparison to his later work, but his fans will undoubtedly be interested to see how his style and skill have evolved. All in all, a lovely little collection - I will definitely be reading the follow-up, More Adventures of Spider !

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sammy

    Very cute book, easy to read and easy for any young children to enjoy about storytelling. I would recommend for younger children definitely!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adam Jasion

    The Adventures Of Spider: West African Folktales as retold by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney is a wonderful book of folktales that bring the culture and values of Africa to the reader in a simple yet charming fashion. The collection includes 6 folktales that star Spider, a lazy, yet clever, spider that is always searching for the next easy meal. The stories are told in a simple language that is easy enough for young children to understand but contains powerful messages of The Adventures Of Spider: West African Folktales as retold by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney is a wonderful book of folktales that bring the culture and values of Africa to the reader in a simple yet charming fashion. The collection includes 6 folktales that star Spider, a lazy, yet clever, spider that is always searching for the next easy meal. The stories are told in a simple language that is easy enough for young children to understand but contains powerful messages of community, integrity, and wit. I would recommend this book as a read aloud in 2nd grade through 4th grade classrooms. One lesson that could be derived from the collection is to focus on the culture, specifically the cultural values, of the West African people. These stories are an excellent example of the presence of the culture of the people. Each tale is rich with examples of how West Africans value hard work, community, and integrity. Another lesson could be used in the younger classrooms is to discuss the use of personification. Spider is an actual spider, yet displays many human characteristics and actions in each story. The students could point out examples of how the spider is acting like a person in each story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    La Keesha

    If your children don't know the Spider; well they should. I have always loved these stories in all of their many forms. Doesn't every kid want to know how Spider got a bald head and a skinny waist? The stories are primarily from Liberia and Ghana and these retellings are a little watered down for my taste but the ultimate judge is my daughter and she got a kick out of them. The language was simple but not simplistic and she had not trouble reading it herself or picking out the moral of each stor If your children don't know the Spider; well they should. I have always loved these stories in all of their many forms. Doesn't every kid want to know how Spider got a bald head and a skinny waist? The stories are primarily from Liberia and Ghana and these retellings are a little watered down for my taste but the ultimate judge is my daughter and she got a kick out of them. The language was simple but not simplistic and she had not trouble reading it herself or picking out the moral of each story when I read them to her. The colors are bright, the characters quirky and funny and the book itself was just the right size for her little hands. There are other, more detailed and more comprehensive collections that have more of the sound of Africa to them (something about the rhythm of the words) but this is a solid starting point.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette Rupel

    I picked this book up looking for more myths and folktales for my high school freshman classes. I'm trying to expose my students to a variety of cultures and ideas, and if I need to give them easy reading to do so, so be it. I ended up reading the book to my 7 year old. He loved it and wanted to hear another story and another and mama, just one more, please. I think it's a nice collection of stories. It's an easy read. It captures the essence of Anansi. These are fun stories. I think any child o I picked this book up looking for more myths and folktales for my high school freshman classes. I'm trying to expose my students to a variety of cultures and ideas, and if I need to give them easy reading to do so, so be it. I ended up reading the book to my 7 year old. He loved it and wanted to hear another story and another and mama, just one more, please. I think it's a nice collection of stories. It's an easy read. It captures the essence of Anansi. These are fun stories. I think any child or child-at-heart would enjoy them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I think I enjoyed this book more because it made Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys make more sense. I read that book first before American Gods, and didn't really "get it." After reading American Gods and Norse Mythology by Gaiman and now this book of West African Folktales based on the mythology of Anansi, Gaiman's other book makes more sense. I am going to read it again with this new context. I think I enjoyed this book more because it made Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys make more sense. I read that book first before American Gods, and didn't really "get it." After reading American Gods and Norse Mythology by Gaiman and now this book of West African Folktales based on the mythology of Anansi, Gaiman's other book makes more sense. I am going to read it again with this new context.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julia Garcia

    I first read this book ages ago when I was small. I love the way it's told in an old folklore way. It has colorful pictures and several short stories that explain things like "why Spider is bald" and "how the world got wisdom ". These stories are so fun and colorful! I first read this book ages ago when I was small. I love the way it's told in an old folklore way. It has colorful pictures and several short stories that explain things like "why Spider is bald" and "how the world got wisdom ". These stories are so fun and colorful!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily Dell

    Genre: Traditional Fantasy Grade Level: Primary This book is so unique and different from Western culture and I adored that! The lessons that are taught throughout this book are all very important in my mind, and I think would be important to students as well. I also really enjoyed the illustrations.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rebeca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. i like this story

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    In this collection of folktales, Spider always seems to be getting himself into trouble. Mischievous and lazy, Spider must think up plans quickly to survive. This book would be appropriate to share as a read aloud or with independent readers between six and eight years old. Readers will appreciate the humor in Spider's character as it develops through the collection. Readers that enjoy folktales and humorous stories may enjoy this collection. It would be appropriate for teaching children about g In this collection of folktales, Spider always seems to be getting himself into trouble. Mischievous and lazy, Spider must think up plans quickly to survive. This book would be appropriate to share as a read aloud or with independent readers between six and eight years old. Readers will appreciate the humor in Spider's character as it develops through the collection. Readers that enjoy folktales and humorous stories may enjoy this collection. It would be appropriate for teaching children about genre and developing vocabulary and narrative skills.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I think this book is a cute book and the pictures are funny, it is good for younger children to read. This book have 6 little funny spider, sometimes they are smart, tricky and lazy. When they are good they are full of fun. I would recommend this book to younger children.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maura

    Cute stories - but I'm not a fan of spiders. I'm not sure why my stepmother bought this for my baby brothers because she doesn't like spiders either. Why she'd want a children's book full of them I'll never know. I do like that it brought in another culture's folktales though. Cute stories - but I'm not a fan of spiders. I'm not sure why my stepmother bought this for my baby brothers because she doesn't like spiders either. Why she'd want a children's book full of them I'll never know. I do like that it brought in another culture's folktales though.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Read this last year as part of the in2books program. My "pen pal" picked it (or his/her teacher.) Good program; wish I had done it this year. Read this last year as part of the in2books program. My "pen pal" picked it (or his/her teacher.) Good program; wish I had done it this year.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Used this in a unit on Anansi tales with my 3rd graders and they really enjoyed listening to the stories about Spider.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Wonderful re-tellings of six West African Folktales. My favorites were How Spider Got a Thin Waist and How Spider Got a Bald Head.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fishface

    Great story about a spider who fakes his own death and arranges to be buried next to the family vegetable garden so he can swipe all the best produce.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    West African Folk tale about how the spider became like he is Great for classroom discussions of folk tales

  18. 5 out of 5

    Demaira Reid

    i love it so much

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney, a favorite illustrator of mine.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Esther

  22. 4 out of 5

    McKinley

  23. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cissy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa King

  26. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ronaldob

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janice Durante

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Guzman

  30. 5 out of 5

    Claire

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