Aesop's Kiwi Fables

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Ching, Ray
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Research Projects
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This sturdy, heavy, well-executed landscape book of about 9½" x 7" combines strong, detailed painting with clever replacement of key players in traditional fables. Good examples are Fables 5 and 6. In Fable 5, a kiwi asks a goose to teach her to fly. Here the kiwi, who cannot fly, is assuming the traditional role of the tortoise or snail who asked to fly. The goose, after trying in vain to dissuade her, carries her in a sling and drops her into the ocean. In Fable 6, a slow tuatara wins over the nocturnal possum by arranging the race to start at daybreak. Thus TH is played out with a significant change in its terms. In Fable 13, it is not a monkey mother praising her child as most beautiful but a rooster praising his hen as most beautiful. Fable 25 changes MM into the story of a student carrying flowers to a contest. Some fables are utterly traditional but accompanied by paintings set in New Zealand, as is the case with Fable 11, "The Old Man and Death." Fable 32 handles SW similarly, and Fable 47 does the same with 2P. The paintings are strong, and the transpositions clever. For each fable, there is a left-hand page with fable number, text, and moral, a right-hand page with a full landscape painting of the fable, and then a two-page spread offering a detail from the painting. It is not surprising that a reader like me runs into many new species of animals in reading this book! They are presented in glorious color! The cover picture features the convalescing rabbit of Fable 31, who has the grass eaten out from around him by thoughtless friends. First printed in 2012, and now reprinted for the third time in 2021. This book is a perfect match for this collection!
David Bateman
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