Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This British husband-and-wife team has gleaned more than a hundred of the ancient storyteller's fables for this beguiling compendium. Well-known entries (e.g., "The Tortoise and the Hare"; "The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs") are presented cheek-by-jowl with lesser-known offerings ("The Bald Knight"; "The Crab and Her Baby"). As explained in a detailed foreword, the retellings are served up much as Aesop might have told them, unadorned by the cliched moral epigrams that have come to be attached to his tales over the centuries. The abundant illustrations invite browsing as well as close reading: the pages are peppered with droll black-and-white sketches as well as energetic full-color watercolors. A table of contents and title index are useful additions. All ages. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Just a few facts are known about the man, Aesop, born into slavery on a Greek Island around 600 BC. From his legacy of animal tales, it is clear that he possessed great wit, a sense of irony, fairness and unparalleled imagination. Here, over two hundred timeless lessons are collected. Trimmed with jaunty sketches, in color and black and white, these brief studies in human foibles teach and entertain. Aesop made his point with few words, so the tales are brief. Most contain the moral in the final sentence, although some lessons are left for the reader to deduce.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This is a gathering of more than 100 fables that have been part of oral and written storytelling for twenty-five centuries. Liberally illustrated with pen and ink drawings and full color paintings, this title would make a worthwhile addition to any fairy tale or folk tale collection.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-6-Containing over 100 fables attributed to Aesop, this is one of the most comprehensive collections to be published since the classic V.S. Vernon Jones's edition, which appeared in 1912. It contains obscure but interesting selections such as ``The Oak and the Reed'' and ``The Mice and the Weasels at War'' in addition to well-known favorites. The retellings are brief and do away with the stated morals. They are loosely arranged according to main characters, e.g., fables about mice are grouped together. A collector's note and information about Aesop are also included. Like Arthur Rackham, whose illustrations accompany the Vernon Jones compilation, Rowan Barnes-Murphy has chosen to alternate pen-and-ink line drawings with larger, full-color paintings. His numerous pictures are accomplished and capture the essence of each animal and human in the manner of a caricature. While the ink-and-watercolor artwork is effective, Barnes-Murphy seems to be most at home with the black-and-white line drawings. Overall, this oversized volume makes a worthwhile addition to folklore collections.-Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Larger than most collections of Aesop's fables, this volume contains more than 100 tales as well as an introduction to Aesop and the stories attributed to him. The storytelling is short and simple, though at times source notes would be helpful. Take, for example, "The Fox and the Turkeys," in which a fox dances "a jig, a rumba, and a waltz, then the can-can, the samba, and of course the foxtrot" around and around a tree until the turkeys perched in the branches become dizzy and fall to the ground. Is this an American variant of an ancient fable or Barnes-Murphy's retelling? Spirited illustrations in ink, sometimes with watercolor washes, appear throughout the book. Recommended for larger collections.