Reviews for Aesop's Fables

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Only eight of Aesop's fables are retold here, including two that are not well known: "The Frogs That Wanted a King" and "The Jay and the Peacocks." "Aesop" himself narrates didactic introductions to each elongated tale, further inflating the volume. The combination of ancient Greek elements in the text and other time periods in the illustrations is confusing. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Library Media Connection - February 2006
Using the first person to retell eight well-known fables of Aesop, Pirotta gives readers the impression of listening to the storyteller himself. Sometimes the well-known fables take a slightly different twist, as in "The Lion and the Mouse" where it is the mouse's family of hungry children who gnaw through the cords binding Lion. But stories retold again and again often change slightly with the retelling, or with the storyteller, and this doesn't diminish the quality of the tale. Introductions to the fables are written on pages shaded in an antique yellow bordered in pseudo-Greek design while the text of the fables is set off with full page illustrations and smaller illustrations which often edge out of their borders. Introductions provide background and context for the fable and the reason why this particular fable is relevant. Rounded, rolling landscapes seem to fly, even if at times the animals take on a Disney-like air. At least two of Johnson's illustrations have a Gothic or early medieval quality with precise landscape and elongated figures. Each fable ends with the moral printed on a yellowed scroll surrounded by the key creatures in the fable. The cover illustration looks like a Greek landscape with all the characters of the fables listening to young Aesop. Type size is large enough that beginning readers could read this independently. Recommended. Leslie Greaves Radloff, Teacher/Librarian, Rondo IRC, St. Paul, Minnesota © 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 December #3
A host of anthologies gather favorites old and new. In Aesop's Fables, Saviour Pirotta retells eight of the fables in the voice of Aesop himself ("My fables are short and simple. They are mostly about animals and simple country folk"). Richard Johnson illustrates most of the tales with one full-page, full-bleed painting and a smattering of spot art. A dramatic image of the lion caught in the net as the mouse attempts to free him is especially effective. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2005 November

Gr 1-5 -Each of these eight fables is presented in a two-part format. The first part consists of a wordy introduction in which "Aesop" explains the meaning and possible context of the tale and relates it to his own life as a freed Athenian slave. Several of the selections, such as "The Frogs That Wanted a King" and "The Jay and the Peacocks," are not often anthologized. Each telling contains descriptions of the setting, extensive dialogue, and rounded-out motivation. Unfortunately, the resulting long-windedness violates the pithiness of the genre. "The Lion and the Mouse" comes in at over eight pages. The preface makes clear what advice the ensuing selection will impart; the final paragraph of the narrative emphasizes the upcoming lesson, and a neatly framed moral is appended. This triple treatment leaves nothing to chance or children's ability to interpret meaning. However, Johnson's richly toned paintings in a pleasing variety of shapes grace the pages with lively animal and human activity. Three times as many fables in a quarter of the words appear in Verónica Uribe's Little Book of Fables (Groundwood, 2004), while Helen Ward's grand retelling of a dozen tales in Unwitting Wisdom (Chronicle, 2004) features more subtly designed illustrations that embellish the stories' content.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA

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