Anansi does the impossible! : an Ashanti tale / retold by Verna Aardema ; illustrated by Lisa Desimini.



This Ashanti tale explains why West African folktales are called Spider Stories. In the story, the Sky God owns human folktales. One day, Anansi the Spider tells his wife Aso that he wants to win them back for the people. The Sky God agrees if Anansi will bring him three impossible things: a live python, a real fairy, and forty-seven stinging hornets. With the help of his wife, he succeeds in bringing each of the things to the Sky God and wins back the folktales.A glossary and pronunciation guide is included at the beginning of the book. Aardema’s use of sound effects gives her words a rhythmic, musical quality that make this book a good read aloud. Unlike some other Anansi stories, Anansi succeeds in attaining an admirable goal in the end. The presence of Aso as a strong female character ensures that this story will be enjoyed by both boys and girls alike. As well, I liked the contrast between Anansi’s confidence in front of the Sky God and his uncertainty behind the scenes with his wife. Perhaps this book could accompany a discussion of how people may appear to feel one way but actually feel another way.Desimini creates vibrant, colourful collage art with oil glazing, paint, cut paper, and other materials. She uses a combination of full-page and two-page illustrations that bleed off their pages. Perhaps the book could accompany an art activity using Desimini’s collage style.


Africa, Anansi (Legendary character), Legends.Anansi (Legendary character), Legends.Folklore, Spiders., West

Reading Levels

Ages 7 - 8 / Grades 2 - 3

Publication History