The Fables of La Fontaine
. White Star Kids . Milan, Italy
MetadataShow full item record
In this large-format book, twenty fables are given two pages each after an introduction. Adreani did an Aesop book a year earlier in the same format for White Star. There is a T of C at the beginning. I am disturbed by the typo "inlcuding" in the introduction (7). The translator offers generally rhyming couplets, with closing quatrains. I believe that the translations struggle. La Fontaine's beginning of TH is "Rien ne sert de courir. Il faut partir à point." The translation here has "If you don't arrive in time, what good is there in running?" The main clause is fine, but "arrive" is a confusing translation for "partir." Similarly I am confused when I read "The monkey could not remember a similar scandal / it had never been seen, or so it is said / that to solve the matter of the vandal, / the monkey four shirts of sweat did shed" (17). FG has for a moral the intriguing aphorism "What I cannot have, I will gladly give you for a steal" (9). For me, the visual artistry here is far stronger than the text. Good illustrations include WL (10-11), where the lamb drinks under the long shadow of the snarling wolf. As we view the would-be lion hunter who has scrambled up a tree, we see only the tip of the lion's tail (12-13). FS plays with geometric angles as the stork looks down on a flat dish while the fox lies looking into – and sniffing? – a vase on its side (20-21). FC features excellent facial expressions as the fox walks off proudly with the cheese in its mouth and the crow looks askance, ready to fly away (38-39). The cover illustration comes from OF: the ox holds the frog-become-balloon by a string. This good text has the frog conversing only with the ox, who cautions her. The frog "burst, and away it flew" (22).