Distributed by National Film Board of Canada, 1123 Broadway, Suite 307, New York, NY 10010; 800-542-2164
Produced by Tamara Lynch
Directed by Jamie Mason
VHS, color, 7 min.
Children's Literature, Education, Adolescence, Animation
Reviewed by Hope Marie Cook, Curriculum Center Librarian, Eastern Connecticut State University
This video is based on the book title, The Magic of Anansi, a story that was adapted by Mary Withers. The origins of Anansi date back to the oral and written storytelling tradition believed to have been brought to the West Indies by African slaves. These tales originated as an Ashanti legend from Ghana and have continued to take on new life as they are passed from generation to generation. This African folklore storyline, one of many, concerns the antics of well-known, mischievous trickster Anansi and his attempt to earn respect from the other jungle animals. The final lesson concerns the costs of earning this respect at the possible price of ruining relationships with others.
The video includes a study guide with lesson plan ideas that could be used to further discuss the practice and the art of storytelling in various cultures, particularly the African culture. Additionally, the video could also be used with the book of the same name, or other Anansi stories to teach moral lessons to young children.
The Magic of Anansi is a charming, animated, and intriguing video with many positive lessons that will appeal to a young audience. Its technical quality is excellent and the characters come to life in a gentle manner while conveying their messages in humorous and distinct voices. The video would be an exceptional purchase and wonderful addition to include in the collection of any school/public library, university curriculum center, or teaching setting.