200 Aesop's Fables: Favourite Fables to Share
Compiled by Vic Parker
Here, to my surprise, is a new edition of this book that seems identical with the original 2012 edition by the same publisher. As I wrote there, there are ten groups of twenty fables each, with individual fables generally using two pages. The resulting heavy 512-page book has a lot to recommend it. What a large group of fables to present! What lively colors and illustrations, starting from the bright orange tiger on the front cover. The groupings are: "Funny Fates"; "Great and Small"; "Deadly Sins"; "Challenge and Chance"; "Schemes and Dreams"; "Mad Mistakes"; "Feathers and Fools"; "Heroes and Villains"; "The Key to Happiness"; and "Narrow Escapes and Sticky Endings." The beginning T of C is divided to give a page to the fables in each grouping. A two-page title-page then introduces each grouping. The thick, slippery pages contain little characters around the edges in patterns that are uniform within each grouping. About every fourth fable is illustrated. OF does not have the usual explosion. Instead "all the breath whooshed out of him and he flew up and away, zipping around like a balloon!" (26). The illustration cleverly follows suit with the text. The moral to "Hercules and the Wagoneer" is "Fate helps those who help themselves" (37). The illustrations are generally simple and lively. Among the better illustrations are "The Boy and the Filberts" (148); FC (276); "The Cat and the Mice" (237); DS (267); BW (264-5 and again 282-3, mirror opposites); and "The Donkey and the Wolf" (407). "The Cat Maiden" is told in a form new to me. Venus and Zeus argue, the latter that things could change their habits and instincts. Venus argues that such change is impossible. Zeus makes the transformation and at the wedding feast Venus conjures up a mouse, and the bride tries to pounce on it (189). An overall favorite of mine here is "The Eagle and the Kite" (332-34). It is well told, well illustrated, and well moralized.