Aesop's Fables > Books of Fables > Series Books > Zeri Fables and Gunter's Fables

Zeri Fables and Gunter's Fables

2006 El Oso y el Zorro/The Bear and the Fox.  Gunter Pauli.  Illustrated by Pamela Salazar Ocampo.  First edition.  Paperbound.  Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming":  Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos.  $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 1

Here is, I believe, the first Zeri Fable that I read.  I think it was thus this book that led me to buy others.  It is a curious piece of work. It presents a highly reflective fable.  The fox challenges the bear, who has caught a big fish, by asking if he is aware that in some cultures one is a thief if he has more than he needs.  The bear offers several reflections that give a good defense for his action: he is about to hibernate, and there are more hunters than usual.  The fox challenges again: in Islam, you should give a percentage of your income to the needy in order to get to heaven.  The bear answers that he is happy to survive on earth.  Mention of heaven brings up the question: Is there a heaven for foxes?  The fox answers: "There is always heaven if you believe in it" (16).  When the bear asks if the fox does something for the poor, he answers that, whenever he finds a lost lamb, he helps it to get to heaven fast.  The bear asks "Isn't that murder?"  The fable closes with a difficult expostulation, from whom is not clear: "And it has only just begun!"  What has only just begun?  A good deal of factual and interpretative material follows, including a good section on "Emotional Intelligence" (29): "The cascade of questions that follow unmask the true intent of the fox.  The questions evolve in such a way that the fable ends in the demise of empathy for the fox."

2006 Pies Fríos/Cold Feet. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 2

Here is another in Zeri's fables. Again, it presents a highly reflective fable. This time the twist is, I believe, technological. Bring salt water through cold pipes and there will be condensation that will drip onto both the strawberries and the radishes. Both will thrive in the sand. A good deal of factual and interpretative material follows, including a good section on "Emotional Intelligence" (29), digging into the attitude of both the strawberry and the radish.

2006 Aqua potable del Bosque/Forest Drinking Water. Gunter Pauli. Illustrated by Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming":  Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos.  $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12.  Zeri 3.

Here is another in Zeri's fables.  The story here is not much: a deer returns to a pond that once made it sick and learns from a squirrel that the water is healthy now because the area has been planted with trees.  Good bacteria thus outnumber the bad bacteria that made animals sick.  Apparently every story in this series ends with the tag line ".and it has only just begun!"  A good deal of factual and interpretative material follows, including a good section on "Emotional Intelligence" (29), digging into the attitude of both the deer and the squirrel.

2005 Cultiva una Casa/Grow a House. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 4

It seems typical of Zeri fables that they have a minimal story, heavy on the education of one character by another. Here a macaw seeks a house and finds a beauty with a second floor balcony. It is made of bamboo. The dog inside the house tells the macaw that the house's owner does not like it. It looks poor. The dog informs the macaw that bamboo has been found by German engineers to be stronger than any other building material. It is now termite free, especially when it has been bamboo-fire smoked. It resists earthquake. The macaw decides to move in. I am happy for the education in these booklets, but I am sorry that they are not really fables.

2005 El Arbol Más Fuerte/The Strongest Tree. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 5

Here there is but one character, and that character learns seemingly without incident or provocation. That is to say, there is no story here. What the tree learns is that it is in an ecosystem where "everyone helps, no matter how big, or small, beautiful or even those the tree perhaps thought were ugly" (20). As the grammar of this quotation suggests, there are some issues with the English in this booklet. For example, the tree starts with a good question "How can I be the strongest tree in this forest?" Its answer to itself starts with "And the more leaves I have, the more energy I get from the sun" (4). How does "and" fit here? Another sentence begins "If I were to chase away the earthworms away" (15). Oops! The learning here gets into ants, fungus, earthworms, bird droppings, bacteria, bees, pollination, and rain water. "The strongest tree gives what it does not need and receives back from others what they do not need" (19).

2005 Caminando Sobre el Agua/Walking on Water. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 6

In this volume a frog learns from water striders no longer on the water that detergents are toxic. They make the water "wetter" and thus allow for better cleaning, but they decrease surface tension needed by water-walkers and they allow heavy metals to enter the skin of amphibians like frogs. A standard section of these booklets may help especially in this case: "Systems: Making the Connections" (31).

2006 Arroces Rojos/Red Rice. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 7

Here is another volume whose story consists entirely of discussion. A white rice lady talks through the importing of red rice with an alga, consistently surprisingly spoken of as "an algae." The discussion is quite complex, as the "Emotional Intelligence" (31) section points out. The issue is getting increased beta-carotene into the human diet. The typical feature "Academic Knowledge" (27) does a good job of listing by field the knowledge components of this complex discussion, including such elements as economics, ethics, life style, sociology, and psychology. The factor mentioned in the last of these, for example, is "fear of the unknown."

2006 Jabón de Naranjas/Oranges Soap. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas Zeri "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Zeri Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 8

A well-informed sheep helps a donkey to learn about the cleansing power of orange peels and sugar. Along the way, we learn of the power of orange peels to make sparks when their juice with its alcohol is squirted into a flame. Sugars help cure a headache because they change the water tension in the stomach and so help painkillers to get into the bloodstream through the stomach faster. The donkey claims at the end "This is getting a bit too complicated for me" (20). The "Emotional Intelligence" section (29) points out that both characters in this exchange are informed and empathetic.

2006 Dónde Está Mi Casa?/Where Is Home? Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 9

Here a penguin and a flamingo encounter each other in the Galapagos Islands. It will surprise most readers that there are penguins in the Galapagos. Discovering each other here makes for surprises for both. Penguins, it turns out, can survive happily wherever there are cold water and algae. We learn that the coloring of both flamingos and iguanas gets deeper depending on the quality of the algae -- fresh-water and salt-water, respectively -- that they eat.

2006 Quién Es el Más Bello?/Who Is the Most Beautiful? Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 10

Here is an engaging discussion between a male frigate bird and a male crab. The former is bulging out his bright red throat to attract attention from females of the species, and it is important that he impress them since males outnumber females two to one. Beauty turns out to be in the eye of the beholder, and the crab is not one of those who find him beautiful. The crab describes in turn that he attracts females by his ability to dance with them around the shore. Enjoy the final illustration of females queuing up to mate the with male crab.

2006 El Ventilador de las Cebras/The Zebra Aircon. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12.  Zeri 11

"Aircon" is not in the Merriam Webster Dictionary, but it seems here to mean "air conditioning." It can be hard for me to follow here whether the termites' master builder is speaking or a zebra, but the subject is the air conditioning systems working for each. In termites' hills, there are long chimneys; rising hot air in some draws in fresh air through the others. For zebras the combination of hot black and cooler white stripes sets up a ventilation system. Skyscrapers should try the termites' solution and besides should be painted white.

2006 Narices y Oídos Que Ven/Noses and Ears to See. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 12

This story presents one of the most engaging pairings I have found in this series: a young pink dolphin with a bat. The former says to the latter "Hey wonderful! I see that you are pregnant!" The bat wonders how the dolphin knows, since the bat herself has learned only recently. It turns out that the dolphin sees inside other creatures with the radar system in its nose. With it the dolphin can see the bat's heart beating and stomach rumbling. By contrast the bat sees with her ears, using an echo-graphic system that sends back sound shaped like a picture. Fascinating!

2006 Rasca Mi Espalda!/Scratch My Back! Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 13

This engaging conversation pairs a frustrated Galapagos tortoise with an iguana. The tortoise is frustrated because he cannot scratch his back. He envies the iguana, who has a finch there to pick his loose skin away. The iguana mentions the tortoise's great gifts of having his house with him and being able to retreat into it whenever he is attacked. The tortoise complains that for the first three years of his life, which he spends in forming his shell, he can be the prey of rats and even ants. The iguana sneezes on the tortoise and then apologizes. He explains that he needs to clean the salt out of his nose. The tortoise continues to envy the iguana, this time over his ability to take a bath every day. The iguana notes that he is always smiling while the tortoise always looks sad. This is a dialogue in which one partner does not assuage or convince the other.

2006 Solos Machos/Males Only. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 14

Men in white clothes approach an overpopulated pond, and the female fish start screaming. They tell their brothers their fear that these men will spray male hormones into their pond. Women fish will grow beards! They will not be female any more. Females produce less meat because of the energy that goes to producing eggs and hatching them. When there are no females, there will need to be antiobiotics to keep illnesses away from the resulting male monoculture. Apparently it is one of the brothers who asks the booklet's final question: "I wonder if the men in white would like to live in a world where women grow beards and men and women alike get sick often?" (20).

2006 El Sombrero Mágico/The Magic Hat. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 15

This fascinating volume suffers from poor translation, as when the section on "Emotional Intelligence" (29) says of one of the two main characters, a magician: "He is aware that the brewer is not accept his inventions easily." The same problem gets in the way of communication within the story itself. The magician says early "Hmmm, there seems to be so much in the air, but I cannot make it happen. Something is on the way!" (8). I for one find it hard to know what this statement means. The magician apparently is showing the German brewer that castoff natural materials can be used effectively. He makes that point with "spent grain" three times, for it is used to make bread, mushrooms, and sausages. In each case is there a critique of modern taste that does not want the old natural foods? Perhaps alternatively the magician is pressed each time into showing a modern method when the brewer already knows the magical process he first describes. I presume that it is taken for granted that the non-spent grain went into making the brewer's beer. The spent grain he was accustomed to give to his cattle.

2006 ¿Cómo Desbaratarlo?/How to Take It Apart? Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 16

This is one of the more pointed pamphlets in the series. A large young elephant sits sadly alone when a chimpanzee comes along and asks what is wrong. The elephant wants fingers so that he can ride a bicycle and ring its bell. The chimp attempts to console the elephant by reminding him of his trunk and even suggesting that he trumpet his trunk to warn people that he is coming on the bicycle. The chimp goes further and urges the elephant not to "get so fascinated by people" (16). He points out that the smart humans are the kids, because they can take things apart. Adults only put things together and then, once they are no longer useful, burn them. The elephant consoles himself that he is not like a human and that he does not know how to make fire. The initial picture from behind of the elephant is a classic.

2006 Salón de Belleza para Hipopótamos/The Hippo Beauty Parlor. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 17

This booklet offers a fine approach to animal symbiosis, parasitism, and commensalism. A young hippo asks its mother why she sits impolitely with her mouth open. She answers that she is getting ready to be treated in her beauty parlor. Barbus feeds off her toes, garra cleans out small wounds, and labeo scrubs her teeth. As the youngster suspects, it is sometimes dangerous for a helpful fish when mama hippo dozes off with that fish inside her mouth. The final illustration depicts that danger and suggests the pique of a trapped fish by its glaring look at the sleeping hippo.

2006 ¡No Me Comas Vivo!/Don't Eat Me Alive! Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 18

A shark and a lobster discuss their eating habits and those of humans. The shark swears that he never attacks unless attacked. Humans have crazy ideas about the cartilage in shark fins and about sea cucumbers and sea lions. In the Galapagos everything has enough food. It is only humans that think that they do not have enough food. When the lobster mentions that humans boil lobsters to death and then eat them, both animals swim fast to get away from the humans. The final picture has wonderful color and gives a sense of the shark's getaway and the lobster's panic.

2006 El Jardín de la Abuela Bisonte/Grandma Bison's Garden. Gunter Pauli. Pamela Salazar Ocampo. First edition. Paperbound. Bogotá: Fábulas de Gunter "Para nunc dejar de soñar"/Gunter's Fables "To never stop dreaming": Fundación Hogares Juveniles Campesinos. $9.48 from Chelsea Green Publishing, June, '12. Zeri 19

This booklet presents a conversation between a grandmother bison and her grandson bison returning to Picuris, New Mexico. The grandmother praises the traditional agriculture of the native Americans, rock gardens, and varieties of corn, The grandson bison seems to want to promote agribusiness, more food, and more money. He wants the white man's seal of approval for organic food. The grandma bison supports food certified by native American elders. I am not sure that the terms of this discussion emerge with clarity from the story. Material at the end of the booklet finds organic labels helpful but supports looking for certification that cannot be corrupted and that testifies less to what is not there and more to the strength of traditions, cultures, and local ecosystems. The loveliest picture in this volume is that of a spiral rock garden on 10.

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