Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories : Jamaican Book Review

Jimmy Harrison loves school and his favorite subject is snack time! But when a new boy, Kevin, joins his class, he begins to bully Jimmy and the rest of the children. What’s worse, he begins to take away Jimmy’s snacks. Using the wisdom from his Grandpa Sydney’s story about “Anancy, Snake, and Tiger,” Jimmy overcomes the class bully. And for one Sunday, he reunites his family for dinner. Set in the multicultural environment of South Florida, Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories draws on the rich oral tradition of Anancy stories that are told and re-told in Jamaica and the Caribbean. These Anancy stories, which originated in West Africa, are rich sources of wisdom that have been passed down from generation to generation



Anancy in Miami
by Marva McClean, author of Bridges to Memory
In Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories, Geoffrey Philp reaffirms for us the central role that storytelling plays in the life of all us. For those of us with roots in the Caribbean, storytelling was a way of life, an important form of instruction and preparation for life. Today, storytelling is a critical form of classroom instruction that allows teachers to incorporate children’s voices and cultural background into the teaching and learning process.

In this story, Philp calls on the Jamaican genre of Anancy stories to tell a tale about a fourth grade boy who is bullied at school and soon begins to feel as if the joy of life is being sucked out of his daily activities. A bedtime story he hears over and over again from his Jamaican grandfather provides the framework for tackling his problem with the bully at school. When Jimmy puts into practice the wit and cunning displayed by the character Anancy from Grandpa Sydney’s nighttime tales, he teaches the bully a valuable lesson and learns one himself.

In addition to presenting readers with an artful Anancy tale, Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories speaks to the empowering effect of parental involvement and the special benefits that can be derived from being part of an extended family. Critical thinking questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy are provided at the end of the story for classroom enrichment.

Marva McClean, Ph.D., is an author and curriculum administrator. She recently published Bridges to Memory, a collection of poetry.
Kyra E. Hicks, author of Martha Ann’s Quilt for Queen Victoria
Great Read with Caribbean family insights!
Without giving away the ending, boys and girls will enjoy the story of Jimmy, who has to overcome his fear of a school bully and learn to enjoy school again. You’ll want to turn to the next page and the next to follow Jimmy and hear more about his Grandpa Sydney’s stories from the Caribbean.
I personally enjoyed reading about Jimmy’s family. I love that he lives in a home with his parents and Grandpa and that you get to meet the regular folks in the neighborhood. You can tell there’s love and a common direction in the family. Kids reading this book will really enjoy rooting for Jimmy as he strategizes how to deal with the school bully, who you will want to punch out yourself! Geoffrey Philp does a great job of pacing the book over the seven chapters and unfolding the school yard drama.
Teachers will also enjoy book discussion and critical thinking questions provided by author Geoffrey Philp. Great summer read!
A Story for all Ages! by Stephen Bess
Jamaican writer and poet, Geoffrey Philp weaves a beautiful tale inspired by the West African folklore of Anansi the Spider. Geoffrey Philp’s new book, Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories, revisits the legendary trickster of African/Caribbean lore in a heartwarming story about the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. Philp’s character, Grandpa Sydney, shares the stories of Anancy with his grandson Jimmy. He tells Jimmy about the cleverness and wit of Anancy and how this little spider was able to overcome and outwit the larger animals.

Initially, the Anancy stories were only bedtime stories for Jimmy. However, Jimmy finds out that there are lessons to be learned from this legendary cultural hero when he comes up against a school bully. Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories is guaranteed to delight and entertain readers of all ages. It is great learning tool for the classroom and an excellent introduction to Caribbean culture and folklore. So, if you love a good story or maybe you’ve never even heard of Anancy the Spider, then you need to buy this book.

Stephen Bess
Morphological Confetti

Geoffrey Philp is the author of Benjamin, My Son, Uncle Obadiah and the Alien, Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas, and four poetry collections, including Exodus and Other Poems, Florida Bound, hurricane center, and xango music. He maintains a web site ( and a blog @ He teaches English at Miami Dade College and is the chairperson of the College Prep. Department at the North campus.

Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories by Geoffrey Philp (Book) in Children
Paperback book $12.95
Printed: 60 pages, 6″ x 9″, perfect binding, cream interior paper (60# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper (100# weight), full-color exterior ink
ISBN: 978-0-6151-4940-0
Publisher: Mabrak Books

Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories may be bought online @