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Aesop's Fables
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AESOP probably lived in the middle part of the sixth century BC. A statement in Herodotus gives grounds for thinking that he was a slave.

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Gr 2 Up These ten well-known fables by Aesop have been given a new twist with songwriter Paxton's bouncy verse retellings. Even such familiar stories as ``The Fox and the Grapes,'' and ``The Tortoise and the Hare'' appear fresh due to the skilled and humorous verse. Rayevsky's expressive pen-and-ink with color wash illustrations are a perfect complement to Aesop's wry observations of human nature. The greedy fox, prideful lion, and over-confident hare each act like a mirror, reflecting our own shortcomings. Full of movement and life, these detailed illustrations are reminiscent of the engravings of Durer. The blending of Aesop's fables, Paxton's verse, and Rayevsky's illustrations creates a vital and entertaining work which will delight both eye and ear. Denise A. Anton, Cornbelt Library System, Normal, Ill.

These 10 fables are given a fresh treatment in rhyme, and a new look by Rayevsky. His foxes, bears, lions and other animals appear in medieval and Shakespearean capes, jerkins and plumed hats, all in deep reds, subtle browns and greens. The verses are not always successful, often indulging in inverted syntax to rhyme, and uneven metrics. But phrasing is often clever, and humor is everywhere. In true Aesopian fashion, the morals are soundly thumped at the end: mouse and lion awkwardly learn, ``Yes, sometimes the weak and sometimes the strong/ Must help each other to save right from wrong.'' The boy who cried wolf is more snappily told, ``Please learn your lesson/ Young man and beware:/ Never cry `Wolf!'/ When the wolf isn't there.'' Ages 4-7. (September)

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