Aesop Cop, Volume One
. Tomorrow John Press . Berkeley
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The back cover of this 40-page booklet speaks of an Aesop-inspired morality poem about notable crimes. Is that forward by Handy a deliberate play on the standard foreword? In it Handy, editor of tinytowntimes.com, a blog in Crawford's home town of Ithaca, NY, writes that Crawford chose to versify petty crimes of nominal import then added a quirky, often nonsensical, moral. For Handy it is the art of Stuhmiller that raises this book to art. Each of eighteen stories follows the same two-page format. On the left-hand page is a title and a police report. On the right-hand page is verse and moral set within a full-page illustration. These illustrations remind me of the chromolithographs of Walter Crane. The second story, Grand Farcery, is a good example. Its last lines are O! What a farce when we/Land on our arse and we/Get popped for grand larceny. The moral is Since all the world's a stage, always have an exit strategy. Among the more curious police reports is that in Play It Straight. The report here is of a subject walking strangely and carrying a cello case. Another caller reports finding a fork in her shower. My prize overall goes to The Russian Hairdresser's Boy Toy. All in all, this booklet represents one of the weirdest uses of Aesop's name that I have known.