Timeless Tales of Anansi: Ancestral Realm of Africa

Nathaniel Hosea Ormsby

$ 16.95 (new)
$ 26.05 (used)

Paperback (108 pages)



Editorial Description

Timeless Tales of Anansi contains selected Anansi stories that originated in Africa and were kept alive by the African people who verbally passed them on to future generations of children as daily lessons. As a child, Nathaniel listened eagerly when his father told him bedtime stories about Anansi, the greedy, clever spider who was called the “King of Tricks.” Nathaniel thought the stories were exciting with their inspiring and challenging lessons. He was one determined child—no way would he ever be trapped in the web of Anansi’s tricks. With the memories of Anansi forever in his mind, Nathaniel adapted some of his favorite stories into modern-day presentations so that they could be easily read and understood by today’s generation of children. In respect to the African people, the author hopes that all generations will cherish the rich heritage, using wisdom of the past to make a good future.

Reader Reviews

Good Collection! Worth Reading & Discussing...
I bought this book because I loved the cover, and the author seemed interesting as a storyteller. This book offers a good collection of Anansi stories, freshly told--for fifth graders and up. It would be a great little edition to a cultural library or classroom reading station. It would be an appropriate supplemental mini-text to multicultural studies, social studies, sociology, and folklore classes. I especially enjoyed the informative introduction section that discusses how the Ancient Africans used the spider stories to teach as well as to entertain.

Note: some younger children and sensitive children might find some of the tales a little disturbing / harsh because the greedy, hungry spider does some rather mean things in these versions, and there is some dark humor involved. [This is why I give the book four stars rather than five.] However, one could argue that these aspects have real educational value if the presenter / reader carefully explains to young ones what is going on in the tale and what the naughty, self-centered spider's "sins" are. In fact, Anansi, the King of Tricks, is probably also the king of lies, deception, and the seven deadly sins: Gluttony, Greed, Envy, Sloth, Pride, Wrath, and Lust (for money, fame, status, etc).

Included Tales:

Introduction: Stories and the Ancestral Realm of Ancient Africa
Quoted from this section: "Anansi stories were based on facts of everyday life, and regardless of their seemingly simplicity, time revealed that they were much more than bedtime stories. No matter when they were told--whether at bedtime, dinnertime, school time, or leisure time--the retelling taught children how animals and insects were used to display the mature of mankind" (page 10).

Anansi Promises to Heal the Blind

Dry-head and Anansi

Rabbit and Anansi Went for Work

Bird's Cherry Island (This is a classic spider story; great adventure!)

The Duckunu Tree (Intriguing)

The Magic Pot (This is my favorite of the collection! It's just fun!)
You just have to love a pot that gives you banquet when you say, "Give me food!"

Why Tigers Live in the Jungle

You Dead and Me Mourn (Some dark marriage humor, but fun!)

Bat and Anansi Plan a Visit

The book contains many universal themes, which make it a ripe candidate for story analysis and critical thinking exercises. Anansi's brand of ethics could also make for some interesting class discussions as well.

I am interested in reading more from this writer.