Aesop's Fables > Books of Fables > Series Books > Cantata Learning Aesop

Cantata Learning Aesop

2018 The Fox and the Grapes.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Beth Hughes.  Hardbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop: Cantata Learning.  $32.53 from Amazon.com, March, ‘18.

Music by Dean Jones.  With a CD containing the story and song, just the song, and just the instrumental background.  The lyrics and music are also printed at the end of the book.  Readers are invited by the disc to sing along.  Rhyming quatrains -- heavy on "fox" and "socks" -- work through the fable.  This landscape book will appeal to young readers for the simple, direct art.  Multiple attempts by the fox yield nothing.  The music in this recording works with an echo effect, where the backup group echoes the words of the lead singer.  The story moralizes that it is easy to hate what we cannot have.

2018 The Fox and the Grapes.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Beth Hughes.  Paperbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $7.95 from Amazon.com, Feb., ‘18.

Music by Dean Jones.  The lyrics and music are printed at the end of the book.  Rhyming quatrains -- heavy on "fox" and "socks" -- work through the fable.  This landscape book will appeal to young readers for the simple, direct art.  Multiple attempts by the fox yield nothing.  The story moralizes that it is easy to hate what we cannot have.

2018 The Tortoise and the Hare.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Tim Palin.  Hardbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $17.82 from Amazon.com, Feb., ‘18.

Music by Erik Koskinen.  With a CD containing the story and song, just the song, and just the instrumental background.  The lyrics and music are also printed at the end of the book.  Readers are invited by the disc to sing along.  Rhyming quatrains take the reader and listener through the fable.  The artist pictures the hare cleverly as having the same look on his face through about the first five pages.  The key moment comes when the rabbit "thought he could relax."  "Success comes not from what you say but how your talents are used!"  Hmmm….  Children will like the image of the rabbit trying to catch up at the end, where his legs become like fast-turning wheels.  Lively narrational music.

2018 The Tortoise and the Hare.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Tim Palin.  Paperbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $6.53 from Amazon.com, March, ‘18.

Music by Erik Koskinen.  The lyrics and music are printed at the end of the book.  Rhyming quatrains take the reader and listener through the fable.  The artist pictures the hare cleverly as having the same look on his face through about the first five pages.  The key moment comes when the rabbit "thought he could relax."  "Success comes not from what you say but how your talents are used!"  Hmmm….  Children will like the image of the rabbit trying to catch up at the end, where his legs become like fast-turning wheels.

2018 The Ant and the Grasshopper.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Lisk Feng.  Hardbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $20.63 from Amazon.com, March, ‘18.

Music by Dean Jones.  With a CD containing the story and song, just the song, and just the instrumental background.  The lyrics and music are also printed at the end of the book.  Readers are invited by the disc to sing along.  Am I right to call the music something derived from dixieland jazz?  It is heavy on repeated lines.  The visual art moves nicely without textual reference through summer and fall and only then mentions winter.  The artist also has fun with the multiple limbs of the insects involved, as when the grasshopper on 11 waves with two right hands.  It is quite surprising when the ant simply takes the grasshopper into his home and says "I have plenty to eat."  For me it is even more surprising when the moral is announced: "Work hard, prepare, and you will not fail."  Does this version of the story bear that moral out?

2018 The Ant and the Grasshopper.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Lisk Feng.  Paperbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $7.95 from Amazon.com, March, ‘18.

Music by Dean Jones.  The lyrics and music are printed at the end of the book.  The text is heavy on repeated lines.  The visual art moves nicely without textual reference through summer and fall and only then mentions winter.  The artist also has fun with the multiple limbs of the insects involved, as when the grasshopper on 11 waves with two right hands.  It is quite surprising when the ant simply takes the grasshopper into his home and says "I have plenty to eat."  For me it is even more surprising when the moral is announced: "Work hard, prepare, and you will not fail."  Does this version of the story bear that moral out?

2018 The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Flavia Sorrentino.  Hardbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $19.51 from Amazon.com, March, '18.

Music by Mark Oblinger.  With a CD containing the story and song, just the song, and just the instrumental background.  The lyrics and music are also printed at the end of the book.  Readers are invited by the disc to sing along.  The melody line of the music is -- appropriately -- close to "Mary Had a Little Lamb."  There is also nice honky-tonk piano.  The villagers get angry upon even the first deception.  The visual art may be among the best in this series.  The architecture is Russian or at least Eastern European.  The trees are swirly and the sheep curly.  Those various things tend to make the boy -- and especially his face -- stand out in almost every scene.  They also highlight the wolf when he really does appear.  Does it help to add the phrase "lots of lies" to the moral?  "If you tell lies, lots of lies, then no one will ever know if you can be believed."  I think you may lose your credibility on the first fib!

2018 The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Flavia Sorrentino.  Paperbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $5.52 from Amazon.com, March, '18.

Music by Mark Oblinger.  The lyrics and music are printed at the end of the book.  The melody line of the music is -- appropriately -- close to "Mary Had a Little Lamb."  The villagers get angry upon even the first deception.  The visual art may be among the best in this series.  The architecture is Russian or at least Eastern European.  The trees are swirly and the sheep curly.  Those various things tend to make the boy -- and especially his face -- stand out in almost every scene.  They also highlight the wolf when he really does appear.  Does it help to add the phrase "lots of lies" to the moral?  "If you tell lies, lots of lies, then no one will ever know if you can be believed."  I think you may lose your credibility on the first fib!

2018 The Lion and the Mouse.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Jen Khatun.  Hardbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $17.87 from Amazon.com, March, '18. 

Music by Mark Oblinger.  With a CD containing the story and song, just the song, and just the instrumental background.  The lyrics and music are also printed at the end of the book.  Readers are invited by the disc to sing along.  The mouse narrates this story in rhyming couplets.  Two things are unusual in the story and its visual depiction.  The lion laughs so hard that he lets the mouse go, and the mouse takes that as his cue to leave.  Visually, the artist enjoys using round blue dots on everyone's cheeks.  I wonder why.  I find those dots confusing.  Despite that question, the story and its depiction here carry the fable well.

2018 The Lion and the Mouse.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Jen Khatun.  Paperbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $6.49 from Amazon.com, March, '18.

Music by Mark Oblinger.  The mouse narrates this story in rhyming couplets.  Two things are unusual in the story and its visual depiction.  The lion laughs so hard that he lets the mouse go, and the mouse takes that as his cue to leave.  Visually, the artist enjoys using round blue dots on everyone's cheeks.  I wonder why.  I find those dots confusing.  Despite that question, the story and its depiction here carry the fable well.

2018 The Milkmaid and Her Pail.  Retold by Blake Hoena.  Illustrations by Isabel Munoz.  Hardbound.  North Mankato, MN: Cantata Learning Aesop:  Cantata Learning.  $17.82 from Amazon.com, March, '18.

Music by Joseph Faison IV.  With a CD containing the story and song, just the song, and just the instrumental background.  The lyrics and music are also printed at the end of the book.  Readers are invited by the disc to sing along.  Quatrains tell this engaging story.  This dark-skinned milkmaid sometimes has the pail in her hand and sometimes on her head.  That may complicate the telling of the story.  This milkmaid has a great vision of twirling dancing!  But as she is twirling and dancing on the road, she trips on a stone and the bucket comes crashing down on her head!  This telling of the story goes straight from chicks to a new gown.  It plays several times on the proverb about counting chickens before they are hatched.  Can we note that the poet enjoys missed rhymes, particularly "hatched" and "smashed."  There is no reference to the proverb about crying over spilt milk.

end