One Book New Jersey is a great initiative done every year by the New Jersey Library Association. The idea is to get people to all read the same book, and libraries try to plan programs around the selections. NJLA selects 4 books-one for young children, one for middle readers, one for teens, and one for adults.

This year’s pick for younger kids, the Read to Me selection, is Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric A. Kimmel. Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of trickster tales. But there are things about this adaptation that I like. Originally published almost 20 years ago, Kimmel’s retelling of the sneaky spider’s antics has some very funky illustrations courtesy of Janet Stevens. After so many recent children’s movies and books about lovably cute bugs and spiders, I was glad to see a spider that actually looked creepy. Especially since Anansi is no Charlotte. He’s all legs and trouble here, and I appreciated that.

The timing of this selection is also great since this year’s Summer Reading theme in many states is “Catch the Reading Bug.” One of my fellow children’s librarians is already planning a program at our library around this book.