The Fabled Arts
This is a large-format book of drawings with a short bit of text to accompany each black-and-white drawing. The text always occupies the left-hand page, the drawing the right-hand page. The use of the word fables for these fifty prose pieces is a stretch. Many of the combinations involve a play on words, either in the title or in the moral. Such is the case with Coin Laundry or A Fluent Society. Perhaps the best combination of text and art in the book is The Blacksmith's Bellows on 18-19. It finishes with this line: The moral of this fable is that a windsome lass will fire any man's hearth. A good example of the word-play is Pour Pitcher on 36-37. The text speaks of a giant pitcher containing pancake batter. The story works around to this finish: The moral of this fable is to watch your pitcher when the batter is up. There is some delightful whimsy in this book, and there is also some good counter-cultural sense. Fisherman's Fantasy (44-45) describes two men who broke into a museum to fish for the dolphin kept in a huge glass bowl. Many of the puns are real groaners, far fetched and not worth the fetching. Grand Central Station (86-7) tells of the construction of a New York train station from one hundred ten-dollar bills. There is some good fun here.