Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ANANSI THE SPIDER MAN by Philip M. Sherlock

Anansi the Spider Man is a 1954 collection of folk tales by Philip M. Sherlock, who gathered them in Jamaica. They all feature the spider Anansi, a trickster of West African and West Indian folklore, and his dealings with the other animals.

Not surprisingly, then, every story features somebody trying to trick somebody else. Since Anansi gets conned nearly as much as he gets over on others, the reader never gets too fed up with him, and, on the whole, these stories are rather charming.

Marcia Brown provides the illustrations, which are simple pen-and-ink affairs. They’re a little bit rough, and are reminiscent of Jules Feiffer’s work on The Phantom Tollbooth.

On the whole, Anansi the Spider Man is a solid and entertaining collection of folktales.