Grade 2–4—This oversize book is heavy in the hand and heavy-handed in its lessons. The 28 stories are divided into four groups, each featuring a specific animal-a fox, a wolf, an eagle, and a lion-interacting with other creatures. Four artists, three from Italy and one from Romania, each illustrate a section. The varied styles are congenial and compatible, with pictures done in similar color tones and usually spread generously across two pairs of spreads per tale. Each story comes to a pretty pointed conclusion with the moral restated and elaborated just below the ending. "The hare thought-and she was right-that she and all the other humbler animals can live in peace where justice reigns, but common sense made her cautious, and thus she did not want to stay too near." Longer than many retellings of Aesop, the readable stories tend to carry a strong blend of explanation and conversation. Though wordy and somewhat stilted in its moralizing, this attractive volume could be serviceable where there's a large interest in Aesop or as a showy gift book.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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Aesop, the legendary Greek storyteller, lived approximately 2,500 years ago, but his wise and witty tales--each with its own distinctive moral--remain popular today. This collection includes many of his best-known fables, complemented with large, full-color illustrations by an international team of superb artists. The tales in this book fall into four separate categories based on the animal playing the lead role--the Eagle, the Lion, the Fox, or the Wolf. Here is a volume that both children and adults can treasure, as beautiful to look at as it is enjoyable to read.
This volume presents some of the best-known tales of Aesop, the immortal Greek fabulist. His tales are categorized here according to the animals playing lead roles. Thus under "Lion" we have the fables of "The Lion and the Rat," "The Lion and the Bull," "The Lion and the Ass," and others, each capped off with its own witty moral. The book's other animal themes include fables of the Eagle, the Fox, and the Wolf.
Few reliable details are known about the life of Aesop, but tradition has it that he was recognized throughout the ancient Greek world during the seventh and sixth centuries B. C. as a great storyteller. It is believed that he was a slave who gained both his freedom and widespread fame because of his ability to tell memorable tales, each of his stories having a witty ending that taught a lesson. Tradition also tells us that he served in the court of the great King Croesus of Lydia. Herodotus, the Greek historian, tells us that Aesop met a violent death in approximately 560 B.C., though the details of his death remain obscure. Aesop is also mentioned in the writings of Plato and Aristotle.
(back flap) The Artists
Germano Ovani illustrated this volume's fox fables. Born in Pisaro, Italy, he currently lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he works as a children's book illustrator. He also exhibits his artworks in Italian and British galleries.
Simona Bucan, who illustrated the wolf fables, lives and works in Bucharest, Romania. She was the illustrator selected for the 2003 Bologna Children and Juvenile Book Fair exhibition.
Daniela Pellegrini illustrated the eagle fables. She lives and works in Pisaro, Italy. In addition to her art, she works in a Pisaro center for the mentally handicapped, where she has experimented with art as a means of personal expression.
Manuela Cenci, illustrator of the lion fables, is a graduate of the Urbino Art Institute in Italy. She has wide experience as a commercial artist, but since 2000 has specialized in illustrating children's books. She uses mixed media, such as watercolors, inks, and pastels.