Reviews for Aesop's Fables

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November

Gr 1-4--"Do you see that interesting little insect buzzing around my head?" Waters deftly adds a contemporary tone in description and dialogue to her smooth rendering of 60 familiar and less-well-known tales. The terse moral of each fable, concluding each one in customary style, is usually set in traditional terms. The large, rather heavy book has a spacious format; each tale, appearing on the verso, includes a small vignette and faces a full-page illustration. Testa's pen and watercolor drawings are fun, portraying all animals with the large eyes currently popular in cartoon art. This convention gives some of them a cheerful, goofy appearance while others look puzzled, frightened, or just plain blank. Humorous details punctuate some of the outdoor views-the well-known hare reads from his iPod as the tortoise strolls by. Four stories set one after the other, featuring "a foolish ass and a cunning lion," an ass in a lion's skin, another ass in a lion's skin, and a smarter ass traveling with a small restless dog, are likely to evoke perhaps unintended giggles from today's children, who are accustomed to the pejorative nature of the animal's name. With its many comic touches, this anthology presents once again the humor, folly, ingenuity, and wisdom that make Aesop so durable.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

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