Aesop's Fables by Aesop, Fiona Waters and Fulvio Testa
|Aesop's Fables by Aesop, Fiona Waters and Fulvio Testa|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A much-loved classic that every child should have. Fiona Waters' retellings are beautifully true to Aesop's original stories, and Fulvio Testa's illustrations ably support the tales. Aesop's Fables makes for a great present. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: September 2010|
|Publisher: Andersen Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Everyone knows and loves Aesop's Fables. They're part of our literary tapestry and our everyday lives. We know sour grapes, we know the tortoise and the hare, the boy who cried wolf and so many more. Fiona Waters has retold 60 of the most famous fables in this delightful anthology.
As soon as you see it, you know this version of Aesop's Fables will find a much-loved spot on any child's bookshelf. It's a gorgeous compendium that cries out to be read again and again. Fiona Waters has captured the spirit of Aesop perfectly in her retellings - they feel just like the stories that are so familiar to everyone. She has a crisp and direct writing style, but is still expressive and engaging, even with such short stories. They're perfect for all ages - from sharing with the very littlest book fans, through children learning to read for themselves, and then for slightly older children to devour under the covers at night as they remember old favourites.
Fulvio Testa's illustrations really suit the fables. They're good, solid picture book fare, with a fun cast of animal characters. As in the stories, the animals are slightly anthropomorphic at times. Whilst seeing a lion with a thermometer in his mouth might make you double-take, after page and page of animals doing what they usually do, it doesn't feel too out of place. The style feels a little simple in places; there's nothing particularly wrong with it, but with such a super book, a few more moments of jaw-dropping gorgeousness would have gone down a treat. That's me being ultra-picky, though.
If there is a weak link, it's ol' Aesop himself. When taken as a whole, some of the fables and their morals are a little obvious, samey, even questionable. When you're dealing with a classic, that doesn't really matter: these are all important stories that will feature heavily in everyone's lives. Over-familiarity might lead some of the plots to feel a little hokey, but that's forgiveable. When kids are little, they're delightful little stories. As they grow bigger, the morals will sink in. As they grow bigger still, they might question the wisdom of some of the morals, as people have done for years and years and years. It's just the way it goes. Aesop's Fables is a super choice for a birthday or Christmas present; every child should have it on their bookshelf. Warmly recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
Tortoise vs. Hare - The Rematch! by Preston Rutt and Ben Redlich offers a super twist on one of the best-known fables. If you're after other anthologies of classic tales, then you'll love The Orchard Book of Swords, Sorcerers and Superheroes by Tony Bradman and Tony Ross and My Favourite Fairy Tales by Tony Ross. There's also plenty to pick from in our Top Ten Retellings of Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales.
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