cover image Anansi Finds a Fool

Anansi Finds a Fool

Verna Aardema. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1164-8

Celebrated folklorist Aardema ( Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears ) captures the buoyant rhythms of oral literature once again in this lighthearted Ashanti tale of a trickster done in by his own foolishness. Lazy Anansi hopes to find a fishing partner who will do all the work and leave him with the catch. Aware of the scheme, his friend Bonsu volunteers, offering to cut the branches for the trap if Anansi will get tired for him. ``The tiredness is the worst part!'' protests the unsuspecting Anansi. ``I'll do the cutting myself. And YOU must get tired for ME!'' Bonsu's deception continues with each successive task until Anansi is left with nothing but a broken trap, while Bonsu takes home the lone fish. Its keen banter notwithstanding, Aardema's fable has no more malice than does a good-natured prank. Likewise, Waldman's pastel-hued watercolors reveal an array of animated, bemused faces and intriguing glimpses of a foreign lifestyle. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)