Friday, October 19, 2018

Review of "The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth," by Margaret Musgrove and Julia Cairns

Review of
The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth, by Margaret Musgrove and Julia Cairns ISBN 0590987879

Five out of five stars
 All people that have had encounters with women from West Africa know that they generally wear very colorful clothing. Ghana is a country in West Africa and this book contains a legend of the origin of kente cloth, the material with intricate patterns that both catches the eye and often is an expression of proverbs.
 In the story, the patterns were first observed in a spider web by male weavers and in their excitement the weavers destroyed the webs with no hope of recovering the patterns. No matter how hard they tried, they were unable to remember or reproduce the intricate patterns.
 Finally, the weavers went back to where they observed the web and found another. This time they simply observed and when the spider emerged, it engaged in a series of movements that explained to the weavers how the pattern could be woven. The resultant kente cloth is now the most popular and distinctive form of clothing worn by Africans from the western section of the country.
 Legends of humans being passed something of value by intelligent animals is generally a constant across many cultures. In this case, the natural attribution of intricate designs to a spider, the master of weaving intricate designs, is presented. The level is that of late middle school and the illustrations are colorful and intricate. In many ways, the best way to learn about a culture is to study the legends, in this case the reader will learn a bit about the nation of Ghana.

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