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This book is a real surprise because of the care expended by the artist, the narrative sense behind the illustrations, and the high quality of the illustrations in a print-on-demand book. For me, who sees many fable books, this is not just "another fable book." One of the artist's gifts is the skilled use of framing. In the very first fable, the fox reaches up to almost the frame for grapes that hang through the frame and just into the picture's own space. In LM, the restraining rope trapping the lion wanders onto the picture from the frame's vines, and then returns back to the frame again. In TMCM, the frame sums up the story with its contrasting images of town and country adorning its center at, respectively, top and bottom. The artist's other gifts include the kind of imagination that can show us two phases -- and two faces -- of the moon in one image. She can also manage straight depiction well: the proud wind blowing at a cloaked traveler has the face of a bullying child. The texts are equally engaging, starting from the fox's "tummy rumbling with hunger." The storyteller here has imagined the whole experience, including the fox first bruising his ribs as he slips and then falling into the strings that support the vine. In TH, a gentle breeze sweeps over the sleeping hare and ruffles her fur and thus awakens her. Where most tellers have the once spurned donkey insult the broken horse that once humiliated him, this version has the donkey simply wonder if this is the same beast that he had so envied. What a lovely surprise!
CreateSpace Independent Publishing