The Hare and the Tortoise and other Fables of La Fontaine
La Fontaine, Jean de
. Barefoot Books . Cambridge, MA
PZ8.2.B63 Har 2006 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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The flyleaf speaks of Ranjit Bolt as an award-winning translator. Nineteen fables, with an introduction and an afterword. The illustration style is primitive. Bolt's introduction closes with this good paragraph: When they travel from country to country, century to century, and translator to translator, fables change in the process. I am happy to have joined such a long history of translators with this version of the fables, and I hope you enjoy reading them and choosing your favorites. Perhaps you will even make up some of your own! (7). This introduction is well illustrated with a king at the bottom of the two pages receiving a long scroll from the bill of a crow at the pages' top. About half the fables take two pages to tell; the others take four. TH is true to La Fontaine in having the hare spurn a hollow victory. Although it was a record run,/The tortoise had already won (11). I think that I never understood The Man and the Mirrors before, but I understand it well now. Other people reflect back our faults to us. We can avoid other people and their reflection, but then even a stream will reflect our image. And what is that stream? These fables! I appreciate the consistent sense that these translations with their rhyming couplets make. LM features a rather reckless rat (32)! In FK, Jove sent a moving king -- a crane/That liked to kill and crunch and munch/Ten frogs with tea and ten for lunch (36-37). Generally, I find La Fontaine's order of the men's encounters in MSA not helping the fable, but Bolt's telling of this fable (44-47) is among the best I have seen. The best illustrations may be the most complex, like DW (18-19), The Farmer and His Sons (30-31), and The Rat and the Elephant (50-51). This copy came with a postcard describing the mission of Barefoot Books. Its illustration is a detail from TMCM.