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Individual CD-ROMs

1992  Aesopolis.  "The World of Aesop's Fables."  CD-Rom.  Quantum Leap Technologies.  $.99 from Greg Gable, Thonotosassa, FL, through Ebay.  August, '07.

This intriguing looking game unfortunately plays only on a MAC.  I trust that someone will enjoy it someday!

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 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.

1995?  CD-ROM containing a PDF of an 1884 Aesop's texts, consuming 91 pages on the disc.  Accompanied by exercises based on the Cambridge Latin Course, unrelated to Aesop's Fables.  Unknown source.

This 1884 text is probably better known for combining the illustrations of Tenniel, Griset, and Weir than for the texts reproduced here.  This is a strange disc in other regards as well.   Besides the 1884 fable versions and morals, the disc includes exercises and answers for students of the Cambridge Latin Course.  I am glad someone digitalized the 1884 texts.  Other than that, I am not sure of the value of this disc. 

1996  Fable.  Video game on CD-ROM.  Sir-tech Software.  Telstar Electronic Studios.  Along with the Manual and Official Hint Guide.  $7.50 from Robert Oyler, Taylorville, IL, through Ebay, Dec., '99.  Extra copy of the of the manual and CD-ROM from Sherry Beck, Springfield, OR, through Ebay. 

As with some other CD-ROM games from too many years ago, the development of computer technology seems to have taken me from the ability to play the game.  Both of my computers rejected setting up this game.  I have checked on Wikipedia to find out that it is an adventure game not really related to fable in the Aesopic sense.  Here is Wikipedia's report on the beginning of the game plot: "The plot follows Quickthorpe (the protagonist) attempting to complete a quest given to him by the priest of his village. He is to obtain four mystical gemstones said to have control over a part of nature. The priest tells Quickthorpe that he wishes to destroy the gems, as this will supposedly make the world fully habitable by the people of his village again. In order to obtain each gemstone, Quickthorpe must kill a creature acting as the gem's guardian."  I will leave it to someone else to enter into the game!

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.

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!

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 Fox and the Pussycat.  CD-ROM.  Mumbo-Jumbo.  Phoenix Games Ltd.  $1.99.  July, '11.

This is a curious development of a fable.  The menu allows for various options, like listening to the story and playing various games at different levels.  The surprising thing is that the fable itself is understood in a way quite different from the traditional one.  This fable presents the fox as always talking about himself, so much that he is boring.  Good enough!  But we never arrive at the contrast between the cat's one escape and the fox's insufficient multiple escapes!  I look back at this effort now and see it as a helpful attempt to keep fable up to date technologically.  Apparently a series of these fable discs was made, or perhaps planned.

2006  Aesop's Fables.  Set of seven CD-Roms, six offering audio versions of V.S. Vernon Jones' texts of Aesop's Fables and one offering 247 images by Arthur Rackham.  From an unknown source.

Good recordings of the fables.  This energetic effort was perhaps fated to quick obsolescence.  I imagine that people can find many audio versions of Aesop's fables online these days in a few clicks of their mouse.  The discs are graced by the cover of Steinhoewel's Esopus.

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, 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.