CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 41. . . .June 21, 2013
This picture book collection of 13 Aesopian fables, some more familiar than others, is dramatically and vibrantly illustrated by Talleen Hacikyan and retold with vim and vigour by former UK Children's Laureate and poet, Michael Rosen. Some of the fables, authentic to their original intended adult audience, do feature a bit of killing and mayhem and may cause a pause for some intending to read these to very young children. However, like the originals, these tales demand a bit of life-experience to fully appreciate them and their morals.
All of the morals are relevant to contemporary readers and listeners, and, while I am not overly fond of appending morals to these pithy tales, Rosen's pithy and thoughtful observations and interpretations do not detract from the stories, themselves. The illustrations are simple in their beauty and clarity. The animals and their nature are instantly indefinable. Backgrounds are fitting to the mood of the stories, with dark hues and colours dominating the full page that extends beyond the page's boundaries. These are illustrations to savour. Rosen's text rests on a full page of white facing each of the illustrations.
While the recommended reading level from the publisher is ages 4-8, this book deserves a wider audience regardless, or perhaps, because of its format.
Fables, in additional to the one featured above, include "Dog and Wolf", "Fox and Grapes", "Crow and Fox", "Lion, Fox and Wolf", "Wolf and Lamb", "Mouse and Lion", Frog and Bull", "Cockerel, Dog and Fox", "Mosquito, Lion and Spider", Fir Tree and Thornbush", "Partridge and the Fighting Cocks" and "Town Mouse and Country Mouse." The collection concludes with a vignette of Aesop and a concise blurb about this legendary fabulist and a recommended resource provided by Dr. J.R.C. Cousland, an Associate Professor of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia.
Gail de Vos teaches at the School of Library and Information Studies, the University of Alberta, and is the author of nine books on storytelling and folklore.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.