Thursday, January 9, 2014

Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales


My children and I had the good fortune of reading Anansi andCompany by Bish Denham while still in manuscript form. Anansi, the spider, is an endearing fellow, full of mischief. This is one of the reasons why children (and some adults like me) identify with him so readily. What I especially enjoyed is some of the history behind these stories, the variety (why things are, chain stories, trickery), and the riddles. The complete package is as delightful as it can be, perfect for a read-aloud.

I recently received an ARC from Bish and was surprised at the reaction of the children. When they were young, they were completely captivated by these stories, but now, older and wiser by a few years, they wanted more of the Jamaican flavor. I found myself wanting more as well, a less sanitized version. When I think back of many of the folktales my grandmother told me, they were incredibly violent. I wonder if we are raising a generation of children who cannot take any kind of grief. We want to shield them from any unpleasantness or suffering. I wonder what those consequences will be.

Bish has graciously agreed to answer some questions next month, so you can post them here. The journey, the process, retelling folktales, if she has a pet spider.
I am so proud of Bish for getting this book out into the world. I think it is a perfect introduction to Anansi for young children (ages 4-8). Well done Bish!
Congratulations!!!

9 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Thanks so much, Vijaya! My... doesn't the cover pop?!?

Mirka Breen said...

***Congratulations, Bish!***

I still remember the line from a PB about Anansi- "... they were very happy, that spider family." Could get enough of that!

Bish Denham said...

Here's an old riddle for you, Vijaya, uncensored.

I walk up a hill. I meet a man. I cut off he head. I poke out he eye. I drink he blood. I eat he flesh. I throw away he bones. What am I?

Faith E. Hough said...

I loved Anansi when I was 8-ish. (Well, I still do, but that when I first read the story!) I don't have an e-reader, but maybe I can download it onto my computer...

Vijaya said...

I do love the bright cover, Bish. Okay, I'm sort of stumped on the riddle, but could it be an orange?

Mirka, I have a fondness for spiders and do love a big, happy family of spiders.

Faith, I have a free download on my computer from Amazon to read e-books. You don't need a reader, though I am very fond of my kindle paperwhite. It takes just a bit of getting used to, but quite intuitive. The best part is getting all the classics for free or just a couple of bucks.

Marcia said...

I love the facial expressions on the cover. And whether she has a pet spider??? Can't wait for that interview. :)

Bish Denham said...

Ha! Good guess, Vijaya. But think about something that has eyes, that's the giveaway. :)

MollyMom103 said...

Awesomeness!

Vijaya said...

Potatoe? I can't help it ... I'm having a Dan Quayle moment :)

Thanks for cheering Bish on, my friends!!! I suppose we'll find out whether she has a spider in those cobwebs ... I have x-ray vision.