Caldecott Medalist Gerald McDermott's illustrated books and animated films have brought him international recognition. He is highly regarded for his culturally diverse works inspired by traditional African and Japanese folktales, hero tales of the Pueblos, and the archetypal mythology of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It was his fascination with the imagery of African folklore that led him to the story of Anansi the Spider.
Gerald McDermott was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Cass Technical High School, where he was awarded a National Scholastic Scholarship to Pratt Institute. Once in New York, he began to produce and direct a series of animated films on mythology in consultation with renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell. These films became the basis for McDermott's first picture books. Among McDermott's many honors and awards are the Caldecott Medal for Arrow to the Sun, a Pueblo myth, and Caldecott honors for Anansi the Spider: A Tale from Ashanti and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest. In addition, Mr. McDermott is Primary Education Program Director for the Joseph Campbell Foundation.
Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief maker, and a wise, lovable creature who triumphs over larger foes.
In this traditional Ashanti tale, Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey. Threatened by Fish and Falcon, he is saved from terrible fates by his sons. But which of his sons should Anansi reward? Calling upon Nyame, the God of All Things, Anansi solves his predicament in a touching and highly resourceful fashion.
In adapting this popular folktale, Gerald McDermott merges the old with the new, combining bold, rich color with traditional African design motifs and authentic Ashanti language rhythms.
Anansi the Spider is a 1973 Caldecott Honor Book.