Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, Kimmel, Eric A. Holiday House, N.Y., 1988.
Ethnic Origin: West Africa
Running Time: 10 Minutes
Anansi tricks Lion into going into the forest and saying the magical words, "Isnít this a strange moss-covered rock!"
Anansi tricks Elephant into going into the forest and saying the magical words, "Isnít this a strange moss-covered rock!"
Anansi is tricked by Little Bush Deer into saying the magical words, "Isnít this a strange moss-covered rock!"
Characters: Anansi, the spider and master trickster
(Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, and Zebra are mentioned)
Little Bush Deer
Scenes: Anansi walking through the woods; Anansi discovers the moss-covered rock;
Anansi at Lionís house; Anansi and Lion in the forest; Lion returns home;
Anansi at Elephantís house; Anansi and Elephant in the forest; Elephant returns home;
Anansi in the forest, at the rock with Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, and finally, Zebra;
Little Bush Deer in the forest; Little Bush Deer at the coconut tree;
Anansi at Little Bush Deerís house; Anansi and Little Bush Deer in the forest; Little Bush Deer tricks Anansi at the rock; Little Bush Deer and all the animals at Anansiís to recover their food and return to their homes;
Anansi at his home.
Anansi the spider uses a strange moss-covered rock in the forest to trick all the other animals, until Little Bush Deer decides he needs to learn a lesson.
Rhymes/Special phrases/ "flavor":
Repetition of "walking, walking, walking through the forest."; "woke up an hour later and his head was spinning."; but, especially the repetition and anticipation of the magical words, "Isnít this a strange moss-covered rock!"
Audience: Primarily 6-9 year olds
Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock addresses the issue of industry, as mentioned by Piaget in reference to second and third graders, ages 7-8, in that Anansi configured an industrious plan to acquire food. However, beginning at age 6, Charlotte Huck reveals that children begin to experience a growing sense of justice which would enable children to identify with the actions of Little Bush Deer when she puts her plan into action for the purpose of teaching Anansi a lesson. As Erickson suggests, children age 6 to puberty have a need to feel accomplishment due to growing inferiority. This would possibly allow children to relate to the despondence of the animals who were tricked and celebrate their "appearance" of achievement in the end. This is a story which also allows children to feel some sense of mastery or ownership to the story itself when they begin to identify the order of events and can and want to actively participate in repetitive phrases.
Biographical information on other versions or variants:
Anansi. Gleeson, Brian. Rabbit Ears Productions, Inc.,1992.
Anansi Finds a Fool. Aardema, Verna. Dial Books for Young Readers, New York, 1992.
Comparison of Versions:
In Anansi, by Gleeson, the story, although taking place in Africa, has a
Jamaican flavor. Anansi goes so far as to dress the colorful and "hip"character as depicted by illustrator, Steven Guarnaccia and to eat the foods of the region.
Brian Gleeson has a way of bringing the rhythms of the West Indies to his stories for example man is pronounced Ďmahní and yes is pronounced Ďyah.í
In Anansi finds a Fool, by Aardema, the story, as always, deals with trickery and is African by origin, but the characters are not animals; they are human. Anansi is an African boy, but a trickster just the same. The story is more realistic than fantasy by the nature of its characters.