Synopses & Reviews
The Hare and the Tortoise. The Lion and the Mouse. The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The Jackdaw and the Borrowed Plumage. For generations, these titles and scores of others have been synonymous with the best in the timeless literature of childhood. Although he was probably as mythical as the tales attributed to him, the legendary name of Aesop has been associated for thousands of years with an enduringly popular collection of enchanting fables. In the lavish tradition of Chronicle Books' classic illustrated edition of A Child's Garden of Verses, this delightful selection of Aesop's parables--some of them universally recognizable, others refreshingly unfamiliar--is magnificently complemented by illustrations taken from a variety of antique editions. Among the artists represented in this superbly designed and beautifully reproduced new volume are Arthur Rackham, Thomas Bewick, Walter Crane, Charles Robinson, and Randolph Caldecott. Fully captioned illustrations, a complete bibliography of sources, and a set of biographical notes on the artists make this stunning compendium an ideal gift for any child as well as a valutable companion for collectors of fine illustrated books.
--REDBOOK, Best for Kids, December 1990
These timeless stories, from "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" to "The Fox and the Crow," are accompanied by stunning classic illustrations by 19th- and 20th-century painters. These beautiful reproductions will give children an appreciation for art, but they're not to be outdone by the text. "The fables are perfect for parents and children to read together," Dodge says. "The morals at the end of each tale will spark meaningful discussions. This collection could become a family treasure."
--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, March 1991
No other collection of fables so clearly demonstrates the range of artists who have illustrated Aesop than this one. More than 50 fables are each accompanied by at least one illustration from nearly 30 works from Charles Henry Bennett's 1857 version to Edward Bawden's in 1970. The excellent introduction sums up Aesop's importance in literature, and discusses the gradual shift in the intended audience over the years, from adults to children and back to adults. Well-loved fables are included, but many of these will not be as familiar: "The Mountain in Labour," "The Rose and the Butterfly," and "The Ass and His Driver." Crisp, to-the-point tellings never detract from the main focus--the fantastic array of classic illustrations, reproduced from original editions in museums and private collections. There is a wide assortment of illustrational styles, I and the list of artists reads like a "Who's Who" of 19th and early 20th century art: Edwin Noble, Arthur Rackham, Alex and Calder, Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Milo Winter, Jack Orr, and Sophia Rosamund Praeger. The collection bears a decidedly British stamp, and young children may not respond to the remote quality of the illustrations. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful opportunity for older children and adults to compare and contrast artists' perspectives. A must for larger folklore collections, as the book will be of special interest to researchers.
Twenty-nine of Aesop's many fine illustrators are represented by the 60 reproductions here, including 17 by Rackham and more modest contributions from artists ranging from Caldecott, Crane, and Lucy Fitch Perkins (of twin-book fame) to Alexander Calder. A brief introduction catalogues the fables' history as a subject for illustration--apparently what is referred to on the jacket as "introductory notes on the artists" (a misleading exaggeration). The pungently concise text is uncredited, but is an acceptable alternative to the embroideries fashionable in recent versions. A notably handsome edition, especially useful for its well-chosen sampling of art, with handy access through an illustrators' index.
--KIRKUS REVIEWS, November 1990
Top Ten Picture Books of the Year Redbook
This delightful selection of Aesop's parables--some of them universally recognizable, others refreshignly unfamiliar--is magnificently complemented by illustrations taken from a variety of antique editions.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 94).