1992 Aesop's Fables: A Multimedia Storybook. Produced by Frederic H. Jones. Illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Text by V.S. Vernon Jones. Narrated by Mary & Virginia Fielder. Introduction by G.K. Chesterton. Essay by Rev. Gregory I. Carlson, S.J. Union City, CA: ©1992 Ebook, Inc. Author's copy, Jan., '93.
How nice that I am on the cutting edge of technology! I have learned that it takes a pretty good technological arsenal (including a cd rom player, Windows, Multimedia, and a high-resolution monitor) to enjoy the fifty-four fables on this disc. Once one gets everything set up, it is wonderful. Click on the Rackham picture, and a lovely female voice tells the story (I have not yet found the promised musical surprises). Click on the big words, and some synonyms appear. I am delighted to see Aesop available to children in this format. The packaging promises fifty-four colored illustrations. Actually, many of them are necessarily black-and-white, since that is the way Rackham first created them.
1992 The Dark Fables of Aesop: Timeless Tales with Timeless Morals. Produced by Philips Sidewalk Studio. Narrated by Danny Glover. Philips Interactive Media. $8.77 from Steve Koinm, Houston, through Ebay, March, '99. Extra copy for $9.99 through Ebay from Elijah Coleman, Mableton, GA, Feb., '99.
Attractive packaging here has led only to a disappointment so far. It seems to be a more-than-audio CD that my computer wants to read only as an audio production! The back of the package promises pictures and a maze very much like what is found on the CD Danny Glover Tells Aesop's Fables listed nearby. I have tried twice with this CD-ROM product and will give up till I found out what's happening. The extra copy has an added problem: the scratched CD skips regularly. Now, in '02, I can report that the disk's files have CDA extensions and seem to require an Amiga operating system. It would have been nice if the packaging had mentioned that….
1992/95 Danny Glover Tells Aesop's Fables. Produced by Rebecca Newman. Animation/Art Director Alex Stevens. Writer Betty Birney. Storyteller Danny Glover. Narrator Judyann Elder. Music Composer and Conductor Ron Carter. Produced by SideWalk Studio. Los Angeles: Philips Media. Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, Jan., '97.
Here is a delightful collection of twenty-four fables. At the heart of the work is the chance to pick your fable or to listen to all twenty-four. Cartooned stills fade into one another as the story moves along; for one example of a good artistic use of this medium, note the same view of the sleeping hare in TH used twice with much different shadows. The stories are well told. The fox says to the crow "Enough of that wretched racket; you're hurting my ears!" One option after the story is to go back and review the pictures one by one. One can also listen to the moral, which is a paragraph starting with the fable's last sentence; while it is being told, a short animation of the story plays out on the screen. On starting the program, one meets Aesop, a Black, as the keeper of the scrolls in the Temple of the Scrolls. Menu items include "All About Aesop," "The Animal Characters," and "Mazes and Puzzles" besides individual fables or all the fables. The puzzles require moving pieces of the whole picture around; I find them challenging! Jazz music plays throughout in the background. Lots of imagination and hard work went into preparing this delightful disc!
1993 Aesop's Fable: The Tortoise and the Hare. Product Managers: Todd Power and Liza Weiman. English and Spanish. Product Design: Mark Schlichting. Art Direction: Bridget Erdmann. Art Direction: Bridget Erdmann. Novato, CA: Living Books: Random House/Broderbund Company. $9.99 from Office Max, Santa Clara, Jan., '97. Extra copies a gift of Margaret Carlson Lytton, Dec., '97, and from a computer trash sale
One of the most delightful experiences I have had in a long time. There are two modes for experiencing this program. One runs through the twelve pages one by one, with plenty of animation and music for each event in the story. The other is especially entertaining. The viewer can play with each page, clicking on various objects in the individual picture. Rows of carrots turn into dancers, and tomatoes on the vine turn into a vocal group. Other carrots take off like space missiles. Click on the water and you are liable to see a fish jump up and fly around a bit before bringing the program and picture back to the starting point. Gives new meaning for me to the word "interactive." I love it! The boxed CD-ROM comes with a booklet by the same title.
1993 The City Mouse & the Country Mouse Interactive CD-ROM. Production Manager George Fleischman. Produced in USA. Interactive Publishing Corporation. $10 at the Omaha Computer Swap Meet, May, '98. One extra copy of the disc for $5 from an Omaha computer fair.
This is a simple presentation of TMCM on cartoon slides with the text on the screen highlighted phrase by phrase while it is read. A listener can also click on any word to have it said or on any object to see and hear the word. The reading is enhanced with simple musical background and some sound effects. The speed of the presentation is so slow that it is burdensome to any but those who are learning to read. The text is copyrighted by National Textbook Company, the producers of Chiquita y Pepita (1978/89). Compare the bus-seat illustration here with the one there. An audio cassette is included with the same sound track (listed separately under 1993) and so are crayons to color the printable black-and-white slides. To get the CD-ROM running, I followed the sequence Start/Run/D:/OK and double-clicked on the "go.bat" icon. Molly (CM) and Margaret (TM) are cousins. Molly invites Margaret to a party along with a number of friends. A large dog attacks in the city even before the mice get to food. Molly drinks some wine with Margaret helping by holding the glass. At dinner a cat attacks. Further, loud noises like the clock's bonging bother Molly.
1993 The Lion & the Mouse CD-ROM. Production Manager George Fleischman. Produced in USA. Interactive Publishing Corporation. $10 at the Omaha Computer Swap Meet, May, '98. One extra copy of the disc for $5 from an Omaha computer fair.
This is a simple presentation of LM on cartoon slides with the text on the screen highlighted phrase by phrase while it is read. A listener can also click on any word to have it said or on any object to see and hear the word. The reading is enhanced with simple musical background and some sound effects. The speed of the presentation is so slow that it is burdensome to any but those who are learning to read. The text is copyrighted by National Textbook Company, the producers of Leonardo el León y Ramon el Ratón/Leonard the Lion and Raymond the Mouse (1978/90). An audio cassette is included with the same sound track (listed separately under 1993) and so are crayons to color the printable black-and-white slides. To get the CD-ROM running, I followed the sequence Start/Run/D:/OK and double-clicked on the "go.bat" icon. Leonard and Marty are the characters here. The story is told in the present tense. The slides composed completely of Leonard's face when he is angry with Marty are excellent. "I don't make a good meal, but I do make a good friend" Marty pleads.
1993 The Tortoise & the Hare CD-ROM. Production Manager George Fleischman. Produced in USA. Interactive Publishing Corporation. $10 at the Omaha Computer Swap Meet, May, '98.
This is a simple presentation of TH on cartoon slides with the text on the screen highlighted phrase by phrase while it is read. A listener can also click on any word to have it said or on any object to see and hear the word. The reading is enhanced with simple musical background and some sound effects. The speed of the presentation is so slow that it is burdensome to any but those who are learning to read. The text is copyrighted by National Textbook Company, the producers of Tina la Tortuga y Carlos el Conejo/Tina the Turtle and Carlos the Rabbit (1972/90). An audio cassette is included with the same sound track (listed separately under 1993) and so are crayons to color the printable black-and-white slides. To get the CD-ROM running, I followed the sequence Start/Run/D:/OK and double-clicked on the "go.bat" icon. Richie and Tina are very good friends, but Richie wakes up one day in a very bad mood and cannot stop taunting Tina with the things she cannot do while he can. Tina gets angry and demands a race. Throughout these interchanges there is a great little frog observer. There is also a wonderful expression on Richie's face after the lost race. Tina announces to him: "You go far little by little."
1993? The Monkey King English/Chinese CD-ROM: Interactive, Animated World Fairy Tales With Educational Games. Age 3-14. Topdisc: Power Source Multimedia USA. $10 at Comdex, April, '98.
This is a delightful set of four fables and four activities. The fables are GGE, "The Monkey King," "An Ideal Son in Law," and FC. Each is told, on about four to six pages, in a fashion I love. After hearing the page's text, the viewer can click on various parts of the page to get surprises: birds fly out of chimneys, trees start to dance, airplanes fly through the sky, or plants sprout and start singing together! Click on a fifth tab pictured on the opening page's book, and you arrive at four game options. "Piece Together" presents a picture from the fables scrambled into squares of three, four, five, or six pieces on a side. "Learning words thru Pictures" offers four written words for each of over a hundred pictured objects and rewards or punishes you for your choice. "Fill in the color" allows you to paint a picture. The fourth game, "An abrupt turn of Mind," I cannot understand. In fact, the whole disc is difficult for me because I cannot get it to play in English! Have fun!
1994 Aesop's Fables: Kids Can Read! Interactive CD-ROM. No authors acknowledged. Illustrations after Arthur Rackham. Buffalo, NY: Kids Can Read!: Discis Knowledge Research. $4.99 from Tabo O'Connor, Mesa AZ through Ebay, Feb., '99.
Ten fables are presented with one illustration adapted from Arthur Rackham for each. One can hear the text read in English. One can also click on objects or words for names, sound effects, syllables, Spanish, or more explanation. Included are "The Crab & his Mother," FG, GA, "The Travellers & the Plane Tree," CP, DS, TMCM, "The Cat & the Birds," "The Quack Frog," and FC. Technology moves quickly enough that this disk may have some compatibility problems with computers younger than it. I had to go to "Start," "Run," and "D: install" with a double click on "Discis.exe" to get it going in my new machine.
1996 Fables from India: Interactive CD-ROM:Timeless Classics from "The Panchatantra," The World's Most Ancient Collection of Children's Stories. Narrated by Ravishankar. Various visual artists. New Delhi: Padmini Multimedia Limited. $7.50 from Rudolph Goetze, NY, through Ebay, June, '99.
A delightful CD-ROM featuring five good stories with about five to ten screens each. After a portion of the story is read--in delightful British overseas accent--for that screen, a viewer can play with its characters: frogs catch flies when clicked on, lizards crawl across rocks, skeletons come out of caves and dance. The last frame of each story is a moral little song. There is often a nice finishing phase to a scene when the viewer clicks to go on to the following episode. The beginning presents the usual Panchatantra beginning, since the king is worried about his three lazy sons, and a minister promises to educate them through fables in 180 days. "Friends Become Foes" is the basic Kalila and Dimna story, with Raaja the lion, Sanjeet the bull, and Daama the cunning minister. "The Monkey's Curiosity" is familiar: Mangu gets his leg caught in the cleft left by the carpenter's wedge. "The Lion and the Rabbit" has perhaps the best scene in the video as animals disappear into the lion's cave, we hear only the sound of munching, and bones are thrown out. A pig even prompts a belch! This story uses a river for the lion's reflection in place of the usual well. "The Two Bed Bugs" does not include a louse; Vispa and Dannu both get away after Dannu carelessly bites the king before he is asleep. "The Two Friends" is about Papu and Darmu, whom I first met as Straight and Sneaky. This is one of the easiest CD-ROMs I have worked with, and one of the most enjoyable for its interactivity. Beware: pressing escape exits the whole program.
1997 Aesop's Fables. Multilingual. Ages 4 and up. Fairy Tales & Fables from Pinenut Publishing, Vol. I. Buffalo, NY: Pinenut Publishing. Made in Canada. $5 from Rudolph Goetze, Staten Island, NY, through Ebay, April, '99.
Here are six fables: TH, GGE, FC, BW, TMCM, and MM. A viewer/listener has the choice of nine different languages. The stories may be read by the computer or by the viewer, as 55 slides with text carry her or him through the stories. There are also foreign language drills. The sound work on the English and German reading is poor, especially at the beginning of the disk; it is as though the reader were standing too close to the microphone.
1998 Die 21 schönsten aesopischen Fabeln: CD-ROM. Wolfgang Schibel. Illustrations from Ulm, Sebastian Brand, and J.-B. Oudry. CD-ROM. Made in Mannheim. Mannheim: MATEO (Mannheimer Texte Online). Manufactured by Cyperfection GmbH. Gift of Dr. Wolfgang Schibel, Dec., '98.
What a treasure! The material here would surely fill an audio-cassette and two thick volumes. It includes excellent introductory material on the history of printing, of illustration, and of fables. The 21 fables chosen are a good selection: CJ, WL, DS, LS, TMCM, "The Eagle and the Fox," FC, LM, "The Mountain That Bore a Mouse," "The Old Dog and His Master," FS, BF, "The Wolf and the Fox before the Monkey As Judge," OF, "The Deer and the Hunter," FG, "The Old Lion and the Fox," GA, OR, DLS, and "The Lion and the Goat." For each there is Phaedrus, Romulus, Gualterius Anglicus, La Fontaine, Steinhöwel, and Brand with translations of the Latin and spoken versions of the Latin and early German. Then there are the colored illustrations of Steinhöwel and the black-and-white illustrations of Brand and Oudry. Further, there are helps on translation and comments on all of the texts. Beyond, there is a full reproduction of the Basel edition of 1501 by Brand, including the 340 woodcuts. I look forward to enjoying this CD-ROM and using it frequently in class and research! What a remarkable gift! The cover rightly proclaims it as done "zu Beginn des Multimedia-Saeculi."
1999 fablanimo de la ferme. Narration et interpretations des personages: Bernard Fortin. Auteure: Roxane Lapointe. Musique: Jimmy Tanaka. Montreal: GSI Musique. $2.49 from Chantal Piton, St-Luc, Quebec, Canada through eBay, August, '06.
Here is a CD-ROM contained in a tall, carefully crafted pamphlet of 28 pages enclosed in stiff covers, the front cover with a nice see-through window to view the characters in the farmyard. The booklet and the audio CD-ROM work together well. The booklet catalogues the lyrics of the strong CD-ROM. I listened to the first three of the twelve selections. The first introduces us to the characters of the farmyard. In the second, the ass Firmin is afraid of the long trip he will have to take to deliver the farm's children to a festival. The cat Mistigri lets him know that the festival is close by. He has little to fear. In "Elle s'appelle Bergamotte," Bergamotte the turkey insults Firmin. Soon enough a fox is ready to attack and eat Bergamotte. Firmin becomes aware of it, struggles with his hurt feelings, and finally helps Bergamotte. The illustrations are good, and the vocal renderings are excellent. The voices, animal adaptations, and articulations are all very well done! I will leave the CD-ROM in the pamphlet. The inside front-cover promises more fablanimo editions for the forest, sea, jungle and other venues.
1999 La Fontaine: Texte Intégral: Fables, contes, poésie, théâtre. Fabriqué en France. France inter. Bibliopolis. $18.53 from Frederic Dussault, Mont St.-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada, through eBay, Sept., '03.
This is a CD-Rom containing the text of La Fontaine's works. GA begins on 40, and the last fable finishes on 590. Of course, all the other works of La Fontaine are here as well. This is probably my first French CD-Rom. How nice to be able to have the full text on one's computer! Alas, there are no illustrations that I can find on the disc.
2000 Fábulas CD 1. For use with Fábulas Con Compact Disc. Barcelona: Oceano Multimedia; Oceano Grup Editorial. $22.40 for the book and two CD's from amazon.com, Feb., '03.
There are fourteen fables here, running from two to four minutes each. Like its twin, this CD provides a nice musical approach to the stories, "las mejores fábulas de todos los tiempos." They offer good dramatic voices for the characters. A short flute-melody marks the time to turn the page. The understanding of "fable" is broad here, and so the collection includes "El Cultivo del Maíz," "Popul-Vuh," and "The Musicians of Bremen." Stories I cannot recognize include "A Margarita" and "Los Cangrejos." The man who had fallen in love with a cat finds another girl to marry, and they both care for his beloved cat (61).
2000 Fábulas CD 2. For use with Fábulas Con Compact Disc. Barcelona: Oceano Multimedia; Oceano Grup Editorial. $22.40 for the book and two CD's from amazon.com, Feb., '03.
There are thirteen fables here, running from two to four minutes each. Like its twin, this CD provides a nice musical approach to the stories, "las mejores fábulas de todos los tiempos." They offer good dramatic voices for the characters. A short flute-melody marks the time to turn the page. The understanding of "fable" is broad here, and so the collection includes "The Pied Piper of Hamlin" and "La Yerba Mate." Stories I cannot recognize include "Boca Ancha," "La Sirenita," and "El Viento Zonda."
2001 A Precious Life/The Magic of Patience. Illustrated by Rosalyn White. Paperbound. Oakland: A Jataka Tale Coloring Book: Dharma Publishing. $3 from the publisher, Dec., '04.
This CD-Rom -Rom, produced together with a coloring book containing the texts, presents the stories in two booklets with these same titles published earlier. There are several voices--not always successful--with music and good sound effects. In "The Magic of Patience," the Great Being, who is a buffalo, lives within a jungle with a mischievous monkey. The monkey plays constant tricks on the buffalo, but the buffalo remains patient with his pranks and foolishness. A forest sprite asks the buffalo why he puts up with this creature whom he could easily crush. The buffalo answers that the monkey is doing him a favor by teaching him patience. The sprite asks how he can learn patience, and the buffalo answers that you need a real rascal. Gentle and kind creatures will not help. The sprite goes off, and it turns out that the monkey has overheard the conversation. He asks the buffalo for forgiveness. In "A Precious Life," the Great Being, who is a deer, shows mercy to the prince who had tried to hunt and kill him. In fact, the deer revives him after a terrible accident at a ravine during the pursuit. The deer carries him out of the ravine. Offered whatever he wants, the deer asks the hunter to renounce hunting animals. The hunter henceforth realizes that any animal he encounters might be a Great Being.
2001 Select Fables from Aesop. Historical Literature CD. History Broker. CD facsimile of Select Fables from Aesop and Others with Two Hundred Illustrations, published by Leary and Getz in Philadelphia in about 1856. AUS$6 from Donald McDouall, Ongerup, WA, Australia, through Ebay, Jan., '02.
Here is a serious resource. The good scan of this important volume gives a valuable array of fables from various authors and a fine set of simple illustrations. I am not sure we can get away with selling copies of an old book like this one in this country. It is a good resource to offer someone who wonders what fable books were like in the middle of the nineteenth century. Maneuvering into and around the disk is very easy. Well done!
2001 The Value of Friends/The Best of Friends. Oakland: Jataka Tales for Children: Dharma Publishing. $3 from the publisher, Dec., '04.
This CD-Rom, produced together with a coloring book containing the texts, presents the stories in two booklets with these same titles, published in 1990 and 1989, respectively. There are several voices, music, and good sound effects. The LC blurb for "The Value of Friends" is accurate: the hawk and his family are made aware of the value of friendship when their friends the osprey, the lion, and the tortoise save them from hungry country folk. In "The Best of Friends," a Great Being, in the form of a woodpecker, frees a lion from a bone caught in his throat. They encounter each other later when the woodpecker is hungry and the lion has just made a kill. The lion dismisses the woodpecker. The latter will not, however, get revenge, as he tells a sky fairy. He explains that "He helped the lion in order to end his pain, not to gain a reward." The woodpecker adds that he counts as friends everyone he meets.
2003 Fables de La Fontaine. Racontées par Divers. Musique de Benoît Pimont. Made in Germany. Editions Thierry Magnier: France Bleu. €23 from Bon Marché, Paris, Jan., '05.
Here are fifteen fables, also presented in an accompanying book. See my comments there. There are many narrators. The variety is pleasant. Each fable is titled, and there is a pleasant musical interlude in each pause. 25 minutes, 35 seconds.
2003 Aesop's Story: English Version. Versions by Mary Drake. Boxed set of seven books and two CD's. Aesop's Story: L.K. Family: L.K. Sellobby Korea. $10 from Jennifer Moon, Los Angeles, through eBay, August, '05.
This CD contains seven strong stories to match seven strong books. The stories are: OF, FC, TMCM, STH, LM, "The Lion and the Boar," and GA. This CD has just the English version. It is well done in native voices, with good musical background and sound effects. At the end of each story a female narrator asks "Did you enjoy the story?" See also the Korean disk below in the same boxed offering. See also the catalogue entries for the seven books.
2003 Aesop's Story: Korean Version. Versions by Mary Drake. Boxed set of seven books and two CD's. Aesop's Story: L.K. Family: L.K. Sellobby Korea. $10 from Jennifer Moon, Los Angeles, through eBay, August, '05.
This CD contains seven stories to match seven books. The stories are: OF, FC, TMCM, STH, LM, "The Lion and the Boar," and GA. This CD has just the Korean version. See also the English disk above in the same boxed offering. See also the catalogue entries for the seven books.
2004 The Rabbit Who Overcame Fear/The Hunter and the Quail. Oakland: Jataka Tales for Children: Dharma Publishing. $3 from the publisher, Dec., '04.
This CD-Rom, produced together with a coloring book containing the texts, presents the stories in two booklets with these same titles published earlier. There are several voices--poorly recorded--with music and good sound effects. The first is the standard tale of the timid rabbit who hears the thud of a ripe mango dropping and thinks it is the end of the world. On the CD-Rom, the rabbit is female, while the book's rabbit is male. The accent here is on the altruism of the lion who stops the animals from running off a cliff into the sea. "The Sage" is a wise quail who lives happily with his family in a deep forest. A clever bird-hunter lures the quails with clever calls and throws nets over them. The Sage suggests to his family that, when trapped by the hunter's net, they should poke their heads through an opening and then beat their "wings in a flurry and take to the air." They do what is suggested and it succeeds. They come down over a thorn bush and can wriggle out underneath the net and bush. After some recurrences, the hunter's wife chides him upon his empty-handed return home. The hunter answers that soon enough the spirit of cooperation will dwindle among the quail, and he will be bringing home prey again. He turns out to be right. The Sage takes his family away to safety, but those remaining bicker and are taken. "So it was in ancient times that quarreling birds were captured by the hunters, but those who learned to work together could escape the cleverest foe."
2008 Aesop's Fables for Children. Dover "Listen and Read" CD. Included in the book of the same name, illustrated by Milo Winter. Mineola, NY: Dover Pictorial Archive Series: Dover Publications. $10.39 from Amazon.com, Feb., '10.
This CD accompanies the fine reprint of the classic The Aesop for Children published in 1919 by Rand McNally. I am delighted to see that Dover is reprinting this book and doing it so well! I have long recommended that people try Border's or Barnes and Noble for one of their reprint editions. This may be an even better bet because of the quality of the illustration-printing and because of the CD. I will keep the CD with the book.