From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–Three dozen tales, compactly retold and boldly pictured, are spread across the wide pages of this large, slim collection. Cech uses restraint in embellishing or expanding the small tales, presenting them in traditional brief form with the moral stated at the end. The language is contemporary with just a few colloquialisms that will seem amusing or dissonant according to the reader's taste. Rooster was strutting his stuff in the barnyard…. The young men will fall all over themselves asking me to dance with them. Dog was having a great day. Appearing in facing pairs, each story is told in a column of text on the outer edge of the page. Deep-hued acrylic paintings filling the remainder of the space feature elongated, stylized figures of humans and toothy animals. Some of the plain-spoken lessons are a bit flat while others are more pungent. Work together and you'll be stronger. If you dance your own dance, you'll never be out of step. A page of small vignettes offers a visual key to each of the tales, and Cech concludes with the requisite note on Aesop and some history of the fables. With many more tales than usually contained in picture-book renderings, this attractive newcomer will be welcome in libraries needing more Aesop.–Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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What separates this collection of 36 Aesop tales from numerous others is the handsome presentation, the brevity of the stories, and the quixotic illustration style. One fable per page is designed with the text in a sidebar on the outer edge alongside acrylic paintings reminiscent of stylized folk art. Many of these fables will be unfamiliar to most readers, but their succinct quality makes them equally appealing. Each abridged telling is lucid, and the final line makes concrete the moral. For instance, the story “The Two Crabs” ends with “Sometimes people will give you advice about things they won’t do themselves.“ Opposite the table of contents is an appealing mosaic of postage stamp–sized pictures that correspond to each listed fable, and it’s an effective tease. This rendition shouldn’t replace Jerry Pinkney’s or Brad Sneed’s or Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark’s versions, but it definitely earns a place on the shelf. The final page is a note about Aesop. Grades 1-4. --Julie Cummins