. Frances Lincoln Children's Books . London
xPZ8.2.N353Ae 2011 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Here is an extra copy of the first printing of this book. This book put together by two persons who grew up in South Africa is a serious addition to the Aesop tradition. Its particular niche is that it uses African animals in otherwise perfectly traditional Aesopic fables. Thus we have jackal for fox, tamboti for oak, warthog for boar, and kudu for stag. I find both the tellings and the illustrations unusually attentive to the working of the tales. That attention is born out in Naidoo's Dear Reader that immediately precedes the fables: Aesop's fables aren't like fairy tales from Europe with 'happy ever after' endings. They are much more like traditional African stories. Life is tough…and things can end badly for anyone who doesn't watch out or use their wits! (7). That introduction argues even that Aesop's background was African. Naidoo pays good attention to both the tellings and morals. Thus the Old Lion story is moralized this way: Not everyone is fooled by an old trick (9). And in The Eagle and the Tortoise, the tortoise claims I can wave my flippers in the air. Just get me up there and I'll show you (10). I am surprised by the image of Aesop riding on a panther with his arms and legs bound (6). I would not have thought of that as a way to convey a captured slave! The illustrations are done with pencil and watercolors. I am delighted to welcome this new work to the collection!