CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 7 . . . . November 30, 2001
"The Hare and the Tortoise" is just one of the classic fables retold in this beautifully illustrated collection of animal fables. Writer and illustrator Graham Percy has put together a book that will delight young children and will also teach them about the history of the fable. The book begins with an index, followed by a two page explanation about the ancient Greek origin of the fable and how it was retained throughout history.
Each tale is then briefly summarized on the subsequent four pages. Each of the eight fables is 14 pages long, which includes a two page spread title page covered with a large crayon drawing. Each story is told with large type on the left side of an 10 x 12 inch format. The text is printed on a white background, framed with delicate animal drawings. The size of the text and the full page drawings found on the right hand page will appeal to teachers who want to use this for classroom use. The anthropomorphic crayon drawings of animals are inviting; the size of the drawings reveal the texture of the crayon and make them more interesting. A small drawing is found at the bottom centre of each left hand page. Children will love the drawings and be inclined to mimic them. The stories are told with frankness and use realistic dialogue:
Grandma mouse, who hadn't said anything so far, shook her head and tutted loudly. "And which one of us is actually going to put the bell around the cat's neck?" she asked, tartly.
Wisely stated by one of the characters, the moral of the story is always found at the end of the tale.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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