Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Temple, known for her novels ( Taste of Salt ; The Ramsay Scallop ), reworks a Jamaican tale starring Anansi, the notorious trickster spider, to great effect in this snappy picture book. While Tiger busily brews some sweet coconut-mango soup for himself, a hungry Anansi wonders how to get the chef to abandon his pot. ``Soup time, Anansi, m'dear. Hi-heee!'' he exclaims. The wily spider finally tempts Tiger to take a cool dip in ``Blue Hole.'' Thinking he'll be soon rid of the menace, Tiger dives into the water, leaving his meal unattended. A now full-bellied Anansi, however, will not be caught, and he uses his cunning to pass the blame onto some unsuspecting monkeys. While younger children might be thrown by unusual phrasing, Jamaican dialect gives an authentic rhythm and flavor to Temple's story. Torn- and painted-paper collage artwork often features unusual perspectives. The intense hues of Tiger's coat and the Blue Hole water convey a tropical feel, while smiling brown monkeys and a black Anansi with big green eyes entertain throughout. A script for presenting this story as a play can be found on the inside of the book's jacket. Temple's rare versatility is a welcome discovery. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Tiger is very busy preparing a delicious soup. So delicious that it attracts that tricky spider Anansi, who persuades Tiger that it is really time to take a dip in the watering hole before he sits down to eat his soup. While Tiger is splashing and having a good time, Anansi slurps up the yummy soup, and then manages to get the monkeys to take the blame. The monkeys head for the safety of the trees which is where they live to this day. A charming pourquoi story.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A delightful trickster tale from Jamaica. Tiger prepares a sweet soup for himself, but Anansi distracts him from eating it, insisting that they go swimming together first. Tiger plunges into the water, but the spider, of course, sneaks off to consume the soup. Fearing Tiger's wrath, he happens upon some unsuspecting monkeys and teaches them a song about eating the soup. Then, encouraging them to sing loudly, he disappears into the woods. When Tiger hears them, he seeks revenge. However, the spritely creatures escape into the trees, and Anansi goes free-as always. Temple's retelling is filled with the easy rhythm of the Jamaican dialect and begs to be read-even partly sung-aloud. The story moves along at a pleasant pace and provides opportunities for participation. Its liberal doses of humor and Anansi's not-too-subtle trickery will produce knowing laughs in even the youngest children. The torn-and-painted paper collages convey the warmth and color of the tropical setting and suggest a real sense of movement. The tiger pounces, the spider scurries, and the monkeys fairly dance off their double-page spreads. The endpapers feature a short script of the story. Add a touch of calypso or reggae music, a smattering of homemade sound effects, and some eager actors, and you'll get a piece that is sure to charm any audience. Pair this with Eric Kimmel's Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock (Holiday, 1988) to compare the ways different cultures treat this clever hero.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI
Temple, who made an auspicious debut with the novel "Taste of Salt" (1992), proves she's no slouch in the picture-book department with this exuberant retelling of a West Indian pourquoi story. Smelling something delicious, Anansi tricks Brother Tiger into leaving his sweet soup for the wily spider to devour. Looking for a fall guy, Anansi goes to the forest, where he finds some playful monkeys and teaches them a song: "Just a little while ago / We ate the Tiger soup!" Thinking the monkeys ate his soup, the tiger becomes angry. But before he can eat the monkeys, they disappear up the coconut trees. The storytelling is outstanding, with beautifully cadenced language reflecting African influences and demonstrating strong rhythms and rhymes. Temple's energetic torn-and-painted paper collages feature richly saturated colors and assertive patterns that match the musical quality of her prose. Children will get a big kick out of the shifting poses of the expressive little monkeys. Given the high quality of the book, it's disappointing that no source information is provided. However, the delightful, easy-to-perform playscript, printed on the inside of the jacket, is an added treat.