Quelque Fables de La Fontaine
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This is a surprising book. It presents eleven fables from La Fontaine. Several, like The Ears of the Rabbit and The Rabbits, are not often found in a collection of this size. The book is also surprising because I have four editions of Jourcin's work for Bias a few years later, and this work seems to show a different style. That style is surprising too. Each full color page presents a rather idyllic picture worthy of a picture puzzle. In any case, that scene is not necessarily the dramatic one in the fable. But a monochrome design on the text page presents the gruesome, dramatic, or awkward moment of the fable's story. For The Ears of the Rabbit, the full-page picture has a rabbit running across a field, with a hunter and dog apparently in pursuit. The monochrome design has him admiring the long shadows of his ears. The second fable shows two ducks swimming placidly on a pond. The text page shows the tortoise of TT landing forcefully on the ground. The full-page picture for The Horse Wanting to Avenge Himself Against the Stag shows a horse drinking water at a fountain in a farmyard. The monochrome design shows horse and rider pursuing a stag. The full-page picture for The Shepherd and His Flock have them at peace on the hillside. In the monochrome design they are all fleeing for their lives, though in this presentation it seems that there really is a wolf in the trees. The full-page illustration for TMCM has rats eating books. Might a page or two have been lost here at the booklet's stapled center? While the full-page illustration for The Old Cat and the Young Mouse has a cat waiting prettily outside a mouse hole, the design has a cat with a dead mouse in its mouth. One almost wonders if the full-page pictures were not meant as generic animal pictures for a generic children's book. Les Lapins is a section of La Fontaine's discourse to the Duke de la Rochefoucauld on hares' ability to take off in flight at a whiff of danger but then return immediately to regular life.