Aesop was a slave who lived in ancient Greece in approximately sixth century B.C. His thought-provoking stories, which feature animals and teach moral lessons, have entertained generations of readers. Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) was an English artist and a leading figure in the early 20th century's Golden Age of Illustration. He interpreted scenes from fairy tales, opera, and Shakespearean comedy with whimsical and romantic images that continue to enchant children and adults alike.
Gr 3 Up The simple elegance of Aesop's fables has attracted artists for centuries. This addition to the already-swollen ranks is better than most. There is a nice mix of familiar (``The Fox and the Grapes,'' ``The Hare and the Tortoise,'' and ``The Country Mouse and the City Mouse'') and lesser-known fables (``The Dove and the Snake,'' ``A Laden Ass and a Horse'' and ``The Marriage of the Sun'') in this collection. The writing style is formal yet direct and ideally suited to the ornately detailed pencil illustrations. This slightly antiquated writing style makes these fables better suited to independent reading than to reading aloud. Altogether, an interesting interpretation of the fables which would complement other volumes. 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)