A Story, a Story

A Story, a Story

by Gail E. Haley


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Many African stories, whether or not they are about Kwaku Ananse the "spider man," are called, "Spider Stories." This book is about how that came to be.
The African storyteller begins: "We do not really mean, we do not really mean that what we are about to say is true. A Story, a story; let it come, let it go."
And it tells that long, long ago there were no stories on earth for children to hear. All stories belonged to Nyame, the Sky God. Ananse, the Spider man, wanted to buy some of these stories, so he spun a web up to the sky and went up to bargain with the Sky God. The price the Sky God asked was Osebo, the leopard of-the-terrible-teeth, Mmboro the hornet who-stings-like-fire, and Mmoatia the fairy whom-men-never-see.
How Ananse paid the price is told in a graceful and clever text, with forceful, lovely woodcut illustrations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689712012
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 02/28/1988
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 36
Sales rank: 490,293
Product dimensions: 10.12(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile: AD590L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Gail E. Haley is a young but prolific author and illustrator. She has fourteen books to her credit, in addition to illustrating her husband's syndicated newspaper column, "Parents and Children." Miss Haley is the mother of two children — Marguerite, age two, and another born shortly after she completed this A Story, a story. The idea for A Story, a Story came to Miss Haley as a result of living in the Caribbean. There she found stories in which tigers and leopards appeared. These, happily, are not part of the Caribbean fauna. And so she traced the origins of these stories back to their sources in Africa. She studied African folklore and culture in preparation for writing and illustrating this book, and to capture the flavor of the languages, the people, their customs and life styles. The woodcuts that illustrate this book were cut and printed by Miss Haley in her own print shop. She lives and works in New York with her family, surrounded by a large collection of early children's books, toys and games, cut outs and dolls, going back to the seventeenth century.

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A Story, a Story 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"A story a story, let it come, let it go." This African folk tale is one of my daughters favorite books. It tells how clever little Ananse overcomes several obstacles in order to win all the stories of the sky god and bring them down to earth. It shows how "little people" can use ingenuity to outsmart formidable opponents.
RebeccaMichelet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an African story about Ananse, the "spider man," and how "spider stories" began. One day the Spider man wanted to buy stories from Nyame, ¿the Sky God.¿ After weaving a web up to the sky, he asked Nyame for his stories, but Nyame would only give them to Ananse for a price; Osebo the leopard, Mmboro the hornet, and Mmoatia the fairy. After he left, Ananse made traps, tricked, and captured each the leopard, hornet, and fairy. After paying the price for Nyame's stories, Nyame gave the stories to Ananse, and said they belonged to him and would be called Spider stories.
carebeargirlie5187 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story tells of the origin of spider stories. Ananse the spider man built a web to the sky and asked the Sky God for stories. Seeing that Ananse was old and feeble he agreed for a price. The Sky God asked for a leopard, hornets and a fairy. Using his mind Ananse is able to trick the creatures into captivity and carries them to the Sky God who in turn gives him the spider stories.The illustrations in this book are great. I like the stories morale.I would read this to a class along with the teaching that even a seemingly weak person can oversome their obsticles. This book would go along with a multi-cultural lesson as well.
LauraWade on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story a story is written by Gail E. Haley. This story is about a man named Ananse who because of him we have sprider stories which are stories about someone who succeeds against all odds.I really like this book and the idea of spider stories. I think this book is a great story and gives a great tale of overcoming.I would read this book to my students because I think they would like the story and the pictures in it. I would have them write me a story or tale.
ErikSalvail on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Story, a Story by Gail E. Haley is the beautifully told and illustrated story of the original tale of how African folktales became known as spider stories. The 'Spider man' Ananse spins a ladder up to the Sky God to ask for his box of stories, and is told he may have them if he first brings 3 special items. Ananse is happy to oblige the god, for until he succeeds there are no stories for man. I found this tale and the illustrations to be beautiful, a account of cultural history for all ages to share. Winner of the Caldecott Medal, this shall remain a classic tale of a classic tale for ages to come.
elpowers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very interesting African tale with colorful pictures. Kids will love the images and the newness of some of the elements.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gardenseed More than 1 year ago
This book was one that I often used with groups of k-3rd grade children when I was a children's librarian in New York City. Little boys would sometimes shout with delight SPIDER MAN! when I picked it up and everyone would quickly become absorbed by the story. It never failed, even with older children. The large, colorful illustrations  and quickly moving action hold children's attention. It is equally good for family reading and for storytelling to  large groups.  Get it! It's a keeper!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Haley began writing at a young age. She soon had 14 books to her credit. Among these was A Story A Story. She got the idea for this book while she was living in the Caribbean. She began to study African folklore and culture. She created all the illustration woodcuts and printed them all in her own print shop. The pictures are very vibrant, large and colorful. They are very effective in catching the eyes of children. In the story a man named Ananse, the spider man, spun a web up to the Sky God to buy all of his stories. The price was a leopard, a hornet, and a fairy. All were supposed to impossible for man to catch or even see. He tricked all three into captivity and took them to the Sky God. He purchased the stories that from then on were from then on called ¿The Spider Stories¿. Haley, Gail E. A Story A Story. New York: Antheneum 1970. Reading Level 4.2
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gail Haley has written over thirty books. She is the only individual so far who has won both the Caldecott Award and the Kate Greenaway Medal. Her primary role is storytelling. She is well known for her book A Story-A Story. A Story-A Story tells the story that Ananse, the Spider man, wanted to buy the Sky God¿s stories. The Sky God kept all of his stories in a golden box next to his royal stool. The Sky God tells him how he could buy them, and he questions Ananse because he looks like weak old man. However, Ananse is very determined. Does he get what he needs or does he have to give up? Read the book to find out if he receives the box of stories. The reading level of the book is third grade, seventh month. If people are determined, they will get what they want. This book is a very good example of that and I would recommend this book to anyone. The book is very descriptive with its wording. The book ends by saying ¿This is my story which I have related. If it be sweet, or if it be not sweet, take some elsewhere, and let some come back to me.¿ Haley, Gail E. A Story-A Story. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1970.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Story A Story an African tale by Gail E. Haley. Haley was inspired to write this book about Ananse from the time she lived in the Caribbean. Ananse is a spider man that lived long ago when there were no children stories to be told. Ananse had requested to purchase a story from the Sky God, whom was the only one hold the knowledge of children stories. Sky God, wanted to know how Ananse would be pay the exchange. Ananse work to gather three things Mmboro the hornet who stings like fire, the leopard of the terrible teeth, and Mmoatia the fairy who men never see that the sky god asked for in exchanged. A folk tale written to establish how ¿spider stories¿ originated. I was not impressed with this story I felt no connection with this book. I am not sure that children would actually keep interest in reading this book. Haley E. Gail. A STORY A STORY. New York: Simons & Schuster Children¿s Publishing, 1970
Guest More than 1 year ago
What do you think would happen if there were no stories to be told?! In this story, you'll find out how Ananse, the Spider man, brought folk tales to the African villages, and why most folk tales came to be called 'Spider Stories.' This is a cute little story for young readers. The illustrations are wonderful and the story is quite interesting.