Anansi stories are the current "thing" in my house. My preschooler is simply captivated by them and wants to hear them over and over and over. I'm sure you can relate. Luckily, I truly enjoy Anansi in his role as trickster and even as hero.
We raided the library Sunday. I literally told the man at our favorite branch, "Please find me every Anansi story you have" and he did. We walked away with a pile of books and several cassettes. I'm planning to run with this current passion and develop a preschool unit study next week. For now I'll share our booklist and favorite websites for those of you who are inclined to investigate.
You can read how Anansi bought the stories from the Sky God here. This is an Ashanti legend. You can get the book Anansi Does the Impossible as retold by Verna Aardema for another version of the story. The book is illustrated by Lisa Desimini. The ISBN is 0-689-81092 In this story Anansi doesn't play a trickster. He and his wife Aso are honored for being able to meet the Sky God's price and buy the stories for the people.
I have to confess that I have always loved Anansi in his role as trickster. Some of the first Anansi stories I ever heard were really morals in the fun and clever disguise of a good story.
I was pleased to find the tale "Anansi Goes Fishing" on the web. If you click here you can read it for yourself. I highly recommend the version as retold by Eric A. Kimmel with illustrations by Janet Stevens. Kimmel and Stevens are a winning team and have produced some of our favorite Anansi stories. Anansi Goes Fishing was available at our library as a book-on-tape which makes for a good car favorite. The ISBN is 0-8234-1022-6 Anansi learns a lesson about being lazy in this tale.
Kimmel and Stevens have also produced:
MotherlandNigeria.com has the most comprehensive collections of Anansi stories on the web that I have ever seen. The site is well organized and easy to navigate. You can't miss this site. They offer "....and that is why stories" which are some of my favorites. One that was new to me, that I enjoyed, is Anansi and Alligator. In total they offer 49 short stories and plays. Many are wrapped around a moral.
These stories would be a perfect unit study for a preschooler or even lower elementary students. If you'd like to see my ideas for Language Arts, Music and Geography please click here.