Ananse and the Lizard: a West African tale / retold and illustrated by Pat Cummings.


This picture book opens with a Ghanaian proverb and passage that helps the reader better understand storytelling within the context of Ghanaian culture. Ananse the Spider is a trickster character that recurs in many African folktales.Ananse the Spider learns of a contest that whoever guesses the name of the Chief’s daughter will marry her, own half the kingdom, and rule as chief. When Ananse gets to the Chief’s village, he also learns that anyone who answers incorrectly will be beheaded. Tricky, clever, arrogant Ananse is certain that he will win the contest and succeeds serendipitously in learning the daughter’s name. However, in the end, Lizard is successful in tricking Ananse out of his prize, and Lizard marries the Chief’s daughter instead.Cummings creates his illustrations with watercolour, gouache, and colour pencils on Fabriano Artistico hot-press paper. Because of the boldness and richness of the colours, this story would make an excellent classroom read-aloud. As well, children will enjoy seeing the colourful designs on the Kente cloth, a type of fabric made of woven cloth strips which is native to Ghana.

Reading Levels

Ages 7 - 8 / Grades 2 - 3

Publication History