What Animals Say to Each Other: 30 Nature Fables in Rhyme
Jakob Streit, translated from German by Nina Kuettel
. Waldorf Publications . Chatham, NY
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Here is the English translation of "Was Tiere miteinander reden: 30 Naturfabeln in Gedichtform" from Oratio publishers in 2004. That edition already had the illustrations of Kilian Beck. The book thus becomes an even more international endeavor. The German edition was published in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and printed in Komamo, Slovakia. I wrote on that edition that this is a curious book in several ways. Its texts were written by a man apparently born ninety-nine years ago. Its illustrations were done by a young man of 13 years. Its texts are mostly newly created. Three late titles add a parenthesis mentioning La Fontaine as inspiration. Generally texts are arranged on one page -- especially the right -- and the fable's illustration on the facing page. The fables seem gentle and perceptive, as when the cicada first asks the butterfly to make music with her wings and then learns that the butterfly wants to dance to the cicada's music. The ant is delivering a long lecture to the snail that has slimed its path, but the snail only retires into its internal kitchen to create more slime for tomorrow. The fish tries to be an "airfish"; not flying in air but swimming in water is its life. The sparrow that sees the swallow flying high is at first envious but learns that its life is to hop around on earth. This copy was published upon demand in Monee, IL.