In Anansi and the Magic Stick by Eric A. Kimmel, illus. by Janet Stevens, the arachnid goes too far. Anansi steals the napping Hyena's magic housekeeping stick to water his garden. Unattended, the water floods the town. Stevens's comic creatures with their surprised expressions add kid appeal. ( Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Lazy Anansi discovers Hyena's magic stick and makes it clean up his house and yard. But when it keeps watering his garden, he forgets the chant to make it stop. Luckily, Hyena stops the ensuing flood. The other animals end up enjoying the lake that is left, but fear that Anansi is lost. However, the trickster is floating on the other side of the lake, planning new tricks, "what Anansi does best." Stevens uses watercolor, acrylic, crayon and "digital elements" plus her robust vision to produce animals bursting with personality, masters at expressing their feelings. She mixes bits of whimsical vegetation and fancy, like a sun-glass-wearing rhino, into her otherwise naturalistic landscape, then adds the author and herself floating in the flood for her own trick. Although it is loosely based on a Liberian tale, the story is not very "African," being reminiscent of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, as well. 2001, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-That mischievous spider Anansi is up to his old tricks in this story by Eric A. Kimmel. When the lazy Anansi discovers that Hyena's trick to keeping his home so spotless without any work is a magic stick, Anansi steals the stick with disastrous results. He begins by having the magic stick clean his yard while ignoring the fact that all of his trash is being blown into Lion's yard. Then, while having the magic stick paint his house, the stick paints Zebra pink, and dumps all of the weeds from Anansi's yard into Warthog's tomato patch. Finally, when a flood ensues as a result of Anansi's command for the stick to water his garden while he napped, Hyena takes the magic stick back, ending Anansi's bout of trickery. Narrator Jerry Terheyden accurately captures the essence of each of the animals in Janet Stevens's illustrations. Whether it is with the braying voice of Zebra, the snorting of Warthog, the pride of Lion, the slyness of Hyena, or the tiny timid voice of Anansi, Terheyden's narration makes the characters come alive. A truly delightful addition to any collection.-Veronica Schwartz, Des Plaines Public Library, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Anansi the Trickster meets the Sorcerer's Apprentice in this story loosely based on a Liberian folktale. While the other animals are busy tending their gardens and cleaning their homes, Anansi is sleeping. But when they tease him for being lazy, he says he is hard at work thinking and will have to find a new place to sleep, that is to think, for all the noise they are making. What he finds is Hyena's house, which is always neat and tidy, no matter how Hyena sleeps away the day. Spying on him, Anansi sees Hyena recite some magic words to a stick, which then does his chores for him. The sly spider decides that this stick could help keep his neighbors from laughing at him for his poor housekeeping. All goes well for a time until he decides to have the stick tend his garden. When he falls asleep, the overzealous stick is watering the garden. Without Anansi to stop it, the stick's watering goes from a trickle, to a flood, to a river, in which all the animals are swept away. Unable to remember the magic words, Anansi loses the stick to Hyena and must go back to thinking up new tricks. Children will delight in Anansi's escapades as he annoys his neighbors and learns how to control the stick. Kimmel and Stevens make a good team, with the text fonts echoing the action of the story and the illustrations bringing Anansi and all his antics to life. This is their fourth Anansi collaboration (Anansi and the Talking Melon, 1996, etc.); has the tricky spider learned his lesson this time? Let's hope not-his stories are too amusing. (Picture book. 4-8)