Gail E. Haley, author and illustrator
New York: Atheneum, 1970
Africa has a rich folklore tradition, especially in regions like South Africa, Nigeria, Rhodesia, and Zanzibar. Animals are often prominent in these tales which do not always have happy endings but do impart lessons onto readers. Some are origin stories which explain how things came to be. This beautifully illustrated children’s book is one such story. It retells the African folk tale of how the spider man Anansi obtained stories from the Sky God to give to the children of the earth. According to the author, these “spider stories,” tell how small, defenseless men or animals outwit others and succeed against great odds.