Aesop's Fables

Overview

One of the earliest volumes ever printed in English was Aesop’s Fables, and these delightful, instructive little parables have never gone out of style. Though originally meant for all ages, it is generally considered the first real book to have an audience of children. Noted author John Cech—whose Classic Fairy Tale Collection has received wide critical acclaim—retells some of these best-loved stories in his own inimitable way. Martin Jarrie (illustrator of the bestselling ABC USA) enhances the tales as never ...
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Overview

One of the earliest volumes ever printed in English was Aesop’s Fables, and these delightful, instructive little parables have never gone out of style. Though originally meant for all ages, it is generally considered the first real book to have an audience of children. Noted author John Cech—whose Classic Fairy Tale Collection has received wide critical acclaim—retells some of these best-loved stories in his own inimitable way. Martin Jarrie (illustrator of the bestselling ABC USA) enhances the tales as never before with his unique folk-style art, making this anthology one of the most beautiful and necessary volumes for any child’s bookshelf.

The beloved fables here include:

- The Fox and the Grapes
- The Ant and the Grasshopper
- The Vain Crow

- The Rooster and the Pearl

- The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

- The Tortoise and the Hare

- The Lion and the Mouse

- The Boy Who Went Swimming

- The Sun and the Wind

- The Monkey and the Camel

Plus: a note on Aesop

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...compactly retold and boldly pictured... With many more tales than usually contained in picture-book renderings, this attractive newcomer will be welcome...– School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

In his afterword, Cech (Sterling's Classic Fairy Tale Collection series) credits Aesop's staying power to an ability to "make a point with economy, common sense, and sharp wit." Unfortunately, while the first two qualities are evident in this collection, there is little of the third, particularly in the often overwrought morals that cap off each entry ("Keep a steady pace, and even the slow can win the race," follows "The Tortoise and the Hare"). These retellings of the familiar fables (36 in total) feel schematic, as if they're the notes for better versions to come. All of this puts a heavy burden on Jarrie's (ABC USA) folk art-styled acrylic panels, and these consistently handsome, quirky images almost succeed in carrying the day. Jarrie's flattened perspectives suggest a world where the moral order is clear and fools are not suffered gladly; his animal portraits exude both a totemic charisma and a comically misguided single-mindedness. But with so many Aesop adaptations available, this one isn't likely to stand out. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal
Gr 2-5–Three dozen tales, compactly retold and boldly pictured, are spread across the wide pages of this large, slim collection. Cech uses restraint in embellishing or expanding the small tales, presenting them in traditional brief form with the moral stated at the end. The language is contemporary with just a few colloquialisms that will seem amusing or dissonant according to the reader’s taste. “Rooster was strutting his stuff in the barnyard….” “The young men will fall all over themselves asking me to dance with them.” “Dog was having a great day.” Appearing in facing pairs, each story is told in a column of text on the outer edge of the page. Deep-hued acrylic paintings filling the remainder of the space feature elongated, stylized figures of humans and toothy animals. Some of the plain-spoken lessons are a bit flat while others are more pungent. “Work together and you’ll be stronger.” “If you dance your own dance, you’ll never be out of step.” A page of small vignettes offers a visual key to each of the tales, and Cech concludes with the requisite note on Aesop and some history of the fables. With many more tales than usually contained in picture-book renderings, this attractive newcomer will be welcome in libraries needing more Aesop.–Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Taking pride of place, Jarrie's postmodern scenes of elegantly elongated animals and skinny-limbed humans comically grinning or grimacing over their various twists of fortune shoulder Cech's 36 amiable retellings to the outer margins of the pages. Writing with severe brevity, the reteller mixes simply related versions of the usual chestnuts with less common-and not always canonically Aesopian-fables such as one about a wig-wearing "Bald Knight" (losing, oddly enough, not only a toupee but a cowboy hat in the picture). His morals don't always make sense on their own-"Take just enough and you won't get stuck," concludes the tale of "The Mouse and the Weasel," in which the mouse finds himself jammed, Winnie-the-Pooh-like, into a hole after gorging himself on corn-but they are generally incorporated smoothly into their mini-episodes. Jerry Pinkney's collection (2000) is still the grandest of all, but readers who appreciate salutary lessons that are disbursed with a light touch may gravitate to this one. (afterword) (Folktales. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402752988
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 706,267
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 12.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Cech
John Cech writes plays, poetry, and fiction for both children and adults, and is a Professor of English at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is also the Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture and has served as a judge for The New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year, as well as the Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards; was President of the Children’s Literature Association; and won the Chandler Award of Merit for his work in Children’s Literature.
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