Aesop's Fables: Short Stories to Share
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Compiled by Vic Parker
This book is based on "200 Aesop's Fables: Favourite Fables to Share" from the same team in 2012, reprinted in 2014. The 512 pages there are condensed into 384 here, chiefly by omitting a number of stories, between five and eight from each group of 20. To my delight, all the illustrations and stories that I singled out for comment then still appear here. There are the same ten groups, with individual fables generally using two pages. 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." Each group has its own T of C. 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!" (12). The illustration cleverly follows suit with the text. The moral to "Hercules and the Wagoneer" is "Fate helps those who help themselves" (21). The illustrations are generally simple and lively. Among the better illustrations are "The Boy and the Filberts" (116); FC (170); "The Cat and the Mice" (187); DS (210); BW (208 and 224-5, mirror opposites); and "The Donkey and the Wolf" (319). "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 (147). An overall favorite of mine here is "The Eagle and the Kite" (264-66). It is well told, well illustrated, and well moralized.