Mr Aesop's Story Shop
. A Lion Children's Book: Lion Hudson . Oxford
xPZ8.2.H378Mr 2010 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Here is a second copy of this book. The author declares in the introduction that he wanted to know more about Aesop before retelling Aesop's stories. The information he found led him to wonder what might have happened if Aesop had started up his own business, running a stall in the agora (that's Greek for marketplace), doing what he loved best -- entertaining people and telling fables? (5). I am glad that he goes on to declare that the stories have something to say to people of all ages, grown-ups and children alike. He goes on to tell ten of Aesop's stories -- but, true to his purpose, he situates each first in a fictional situation in the agora. Aesop is selling olives and cheese and inviting people Stop for a moment -- and enjoy! The key in telling his first story, LM, is the line in which he asks his audience You're too small, You're too slow. You're too ugly…. Has anyone ever told you that? And then used it to keep you from doing something you really wanted to do? (7). Hartman follows up by including this in the last lines of this fable: Don't let anyone judge you by the way you look (11). For me, the human illustrations -- and especially those of Aesop -- are even more engaging than the good illustrations of the animals in the fables. In the middle of CP, Aesop forces his listeners to go find pebbles that they can put into his jar. We can't finish the story until we have pebbles (14). For FG, Aesop and his listeners watch what happens at a neighboring stall, where two women want the same amphora. Aesop wisely proclaims This is even better than a story, I'd say (17). Of course the two handles break off and the pottery seller demands payment. One woman says It wasn't that nice, anyway! For TMCM, Aesop claims to sell peace. Indeed, he says, I am the richest man in Greece! Aesop goes on to tell the tale of the dung-beetle and the ant, with rain instead of snow. You can't always count on kindness (27). Flattery from the crowd enjoying his stories provokes Aesop to tell FC. DS gets introduced when a dog runs through the crowd with a piece of stolen meat. For non-human illustrations, try DW on 46-47. My! This is Aesop after my own heart!