2015 to 2019


2015 A Comparison of the Fables Contained in La Fontaine, Marie De France, and the Collections known as Isopet I, Isopet II, Isopet de Lyon.  Margaret Rara Benn.  Paperbound.  BiblioScholar Dissertations: CPSIA.  $49 from Amazon, May, '15. 

This is a Master's Thesis submitted to the Department of Romance Languages and Literature of the University of Kansas in 1908.  It may contain some good criticism of the five collections it compares.  I have not read through the criticism and so I cannot say.  I can say three things.  First, this thesis is poorly presented, to say the least.  I would not have believed that a reputable institution would accept a work so filled with errors and crossouts.  The thesis is unpaginated and presented in single-space.  I would not accept such work from a normal undergraduate, much less a candidate for an MA degree.  Secondly, the work is poorly done by its contemporary republishers.  Many pages are faint.  Those frustrated with the copying of the dissertation into the present paperback will only be exasperated when the last page -- or last pages? -- is missing.  The last page of this work as it presents itself is a repeat of the page before.  Apparently no one bothered to check this work of less than 100 pages, even though it cost $49.  Thirdly, other fable scholars might have hoped for some charts indicating which works are found in which collections.  I find no such helps here.  I have been frustrated with print-on-demand books for some years.  I took another try on this one.  Imagine whether I will try again soon!

2015 Aesop's Fables.  V.S. Vernon Jones (NA).  Illustrations by Milo Winter.  Introduction by G. K. Chesterton.  First printing.  Hardbound.  NY: Knickerbocker Classics Series:  Race Point: Quarto Publishing.  $14.99 from Powell's, Portland, July, '15. 

This small hardbound book is a curious melange.  The introduction by Chesterton, taken without attribution from the 1912 edition featuring the art of Arthur Rackham, drops Chesterton's first paragraph.  The translations are from that same edition but here without recognition: they are from V.S. Vernon Jones.  The color of the illustrations from Winter, advertised on the cover, are surprisingly washed out.  This is the sort of book that comes from the expiration of copyrights seventy-five years after publication of the work.  The best thing about this book is its red cloth cover with gold lettering and a good illustration of the TMCM mice fleeing from the city dinner.  There is a list of illustrations at the front of the book and an AI at the back. 

2015 Aesop's Fables. George Fyler Townsend. Paperbound. Middletown, DE: (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform). $8.09 from Amazon, August, '15.

Here is another print-on-demand book in the form of a sturdy mid-sized paperback of 188 pages. This seems a good rendition of Townsend's texts, preceded by an interminable T of C and followed by a life of Aesop, a preface (!), footnotes, and a long AI. Everything is in uniform format, as boring and machinelike as can be. The cover shows trees, clouds, and some grass. Aesop would not approve, I think!

2015 Aesop's Fables: Vol. I: A First Reader.  Mara L(ouise) Pratt(-Chadwick).  Paperbound.  Young Folk's Library of Choice Literature:  Educational Publishing Company.  $20.75 from Amazon, August, '15.

Here is a paperback book that helps me to carry on my campaign against "publish upon demand" books.  This book is, in some form, a reprint of Mara Pratt's 1892 first volume.  The botched job by the reprinter makes it hard to know just what that form is or which printing of Pratt's work is involved.  Let me list my frustrations as I have tried to catalogue this book.  First, the cover -- and of course the title under which it was advertised and sold -- is not the title on the title-page.  Let me quote verbatim the title on the cover: "Aesop'S Fables: A First Reader - Primary Source Edition."  Who would recognize that as Pratt's book?  Secondly, who is the author?  The xeroxed page inside this book identifies her, as do -- so I believe -- all the published editions of her work, "Mara L. Pratt."  The publisher, in his wisdom, has made her into Mara Louise Pratt-Chadwick.  While it is helpful to have the information of her changed name, the present publisher is not making things easier for those of us who would like to be careful about names.  My biggest frustration comes as I open the book.  I have regularly used the images for FG, an early fable in the 1892 version, as a test case for various printings and editions.  Typically, there is an image I watch on 10 of these editions.  What is on 10 here?  It can be hard to answer this question because 5-7 recount "The Fox and the Lion."  8-9 are misplaced from the beginning of the volume; they show Harvard's library identifier and the inscription of the original giver of the book.  Shall we look to 10 to complete the story of the fox and lion?  What appears is the apparent ending to FG, but without the usual FG image!  I give up!  When instant publishers become more serious about reproducing their books, I will become more serious about cataloguing them!

2015 Best-Loved Aesop's Fables Coloring book.  Maggie Swanson.  Paperbound.  Mineola, NY: Dover Coloring Book:  Dover Publications.  $4.99 from Amazon, Feb., ‘18.

This large-format paperback book offers twenty-two two-page spreads offering texts and black-and-white illustrations to be colored by a young reader.  The illustrations are highly simple.  TMCM is told at too great length!  The colored endpapers are good renditions of "The Young Mouse, the Rooster, and the Cat" and LM.  My hat is off to Dover for continuing to publish fable books for young readers!

2015 Das Hausbuch der schönsten Fabeln und Weisheitsgeschichten.  Inga Hagemann.  Illustrated by Lena Hesse.  Hardbound.  Muenster:  Coppenrath.  €24.95 from Germany, August, '17.

Over 200 texts, pillowed covers with a colorful illustration of FC on the front, and a bookmark set this off as a book for families to enjoy with their children.  I learned here that in Hans Sachs' version of GA the grasshopper claims to have been useful in the summer by singing people to sleep.  The ant answers that the grasshopper should go ask for food from the people she has sung into sleep!  The curious moral is "Who does not collect in youth must go without in old age" (17).  Other texts that are new to me include "The Frogs' Competition" (13); "Die Rangierlokomotive und der Prellbock" (50); and "Diplomatic Advice" (68).  Fables are sometimes brought together to utilize their images together, as happens on 26-27 where a fable about a fox on the left is balanced by a fable about a fox and geese on the right.  The fox image on the left serves for both fables and balances nicely the image of geese on the right.  Images occur every few pages.  Good ones near the beginning of the book include FS (28) and "The Monkey and Spectacles" (49).  Most featured authors are Aesop, Leonardo, La Fontaine, and Lessing.  There is a truly international spread of stories.  Kipling sets a record for his story that goes from 108 to 113 on rather full pages: "The Elephant's Child."  This is the sort of book I would love to work through over a number of days!

2015 Die Schönsten Fabeln.  Ausgewählt von Matthias Reiner.  Illustriert von Reinhard Michl.  Inscribed by Reinhard Michl.  Hardbound.  Berlin: Insel-Bücherei: Insel Verlag.  €31.25 from Bührnheims Literatursalon & Antiquariat, Leipzig, May, '15.

This impressive book presents over fifty fables.  About half are from Aesop.  The other half favors Thurber and German authors.  The covers present a scene that is distinctly contemporary.  A crow bartender shakes a martini shaker.  Mice, a toad, and an unidentified animal sit at the bar.  A chipmunk or squirrel bartender rounds out the scene.  The colored illustrations accompanying most fables are strong.  Perhaps one of the best is "Die Hasen und die Frösche" (24).  GA (40) is also well done, as is TMCM (43-44).  The art for texts on one page regularly spill over onto the space of the facing page, as on 54-55.  The illustration for Kafka's "Kleine Fabel" on 64-65 is another excellent piece!  It turns out that the cover picture is for Thurber's "The Truth about Toads" (72-76).  Reiner Kunze's "Das Ende der Fabeln" (84) is the perfect way to end this lovely book.  The cock starts twice to create a fable but realizes that the fable will offend either the fox or the farmer.  He starts a third time, but….  He looks left, he looks right.  Now there is not another fable!

2015 Die schõnsten Fabeln von Aesop bis Heute.  Illustriert von Silke Leffler.  First edition.  Hardbound.  Berlin: Annette Betz im Ueberreuter Verlag.  €19.95 from Thalia Bücher, Mannheim, August, '17.

A standard check unearthed that this book, though a first edition in its own right, goes back to a first edition of 2003 already in the collection, titled "Das Fabelbuch von Aesop bis Heute."  Commending comments on the back cover are also the same: "ein zeitloses Standardwerk für die ganze Familie."  The larger publishing house may have moved to Berlin and changed its name.  I will repeat my comments from that edition.  Presented in large format, the book is divided into ten sections, each with four or five examples.  Together, the forty-nine individual items form a fine representation of fables and the fabulous.  Authors represented by more than one work include Aesop, Wilhelm Busch, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Martin Luther, Italo Svevo, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, and Folke Tegetthoff.  The ten categories are titled with famous German fable-phrases:  wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt; wer andern eine Grube gräbt; Undank ist der Welten Lohn; übe stets Bescheidenheit; wer nichts wagt; geteilte Freude ist doppelte Freude; erst denken, dann handeln; wenn zwei sich streiten; Lebenslust & Lebensfrust; and wer zuletzt lacht.  Some of the fables here that are new to me include "Vom Bäumlein, das andre Blätter hat gewollt" by Friedrich Rückert (12); "Waldwolf und Steppenwolf" from Native Americans (28); "Der Esel und der Papagei" and "Der Kleine Vogel," two new favorites of mine by Italo Svevo (30); "Der Schmetterling und die Blume" (32) and "Die Meise" (40) by Wilhelm Busch; "Die Ameisen" by Joachim Ringelnatz (42); "Die Schnecke und der Tiger" by Heinz Janisch (42); "Der Lastträger" by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (49); "Tausend Spiegel," a new favorite by Folke Tegetthoff (52); "Die Maus in der Falle" by Franz Kafka (66); and "Papperlapapp" by Josef Guggenmoss (84).  Unfortunately, the book takes Herder's version of SW, which tells the story in poorer fashion (72).  Every story gets at least a small design; many have a full-page illustration.  The latter appear on only the right-hand pages facing their fable texts on the left.  The illustrations tend to elongate human arms and limbs and add umbrellas.  One of the best full-page illustrations is "Die Frösche in der Milch" (45).

2015 Ezopovy Bajky.  [Illustrated by Tessa Hamilton, NA.]  Hardbound.  Prague: Fortuna Libri.  129 Czech Korunas from Prague, August, '17.

Here is Fortuna Libri's Czech republication of Brimax's 1991 book, "Aesop's Fables."  The two books make for a fascinating study in the family tree of books.  I have seldom seen a more faithful use of the original.  What is different?  What had been a central picture of LM on the front cover has become instead an image of FS.  What had been an AI at the beginning of the volume has become a true T of C.  The page-for-page match between books remains strong, with only the captions and texts changed.  As I wrote there, the visual approach is unusual.  The backgrounds are varied, the borders clever, and the illustrations lively (single or double paged).  They are echoed in each case by at least one Bewick reproduction (mostly generic, a few showing fables themselves) and sometimes by a small repetition of a detail from the larger picture.  The morals are nicely captioned within the borders.  The grand prize goes to "The Eagle and the Beetle" (92-3).  Other good illustrations feature the mouse thumbing his nose at the bull (10-11), a face on the back of a groaning wagon (18), an exhausted town mouse back home (37), an astronomer at the bottom of a well (44), a chagrined fox (65), the tortoise's shell-like house (77), tree-faces (90-1), a knight on a broken-down horse in the farmyard (98), a freezing spendthrift sitting over a bunny-hole (111), and a mangy crow that has tried to be a swan (121).

2015 Fable Comics.  Edited by Chris Duffy.  Various cartoonists.  First edition, first printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  New York: First Second Books.  $14.92 from Amazon, August, '15. 

Here are twenty-eight fables rendered by contemporary cartoonists.  They range in size from one page to six.  The first offering, FG, by James Kochalka, includes a good deal of appropriate chatter from the fox and a jet-pack that has the fox flying far beyond the grapes.  It is lively and sets the lively tone for this book.  The various cartoonists take creative approaches to their fables, like Charise Harper's approach to BM (16-19).  She invents wonderful complaints from the various members!  Itsy the mouse treats the lion's belly as a trampoline (20)!  Does it help the story to have the wolf go sailing over the cliff above the lying shepherd boy (38)?  Simone Lia in CP builds up the crow as an answer-person able to answer hard questions (40-44).  Hermes responds to the overly clever second axe-wielder, who has thrown his axe into the pond and claims the golden one Hermes brings to him: "You can't lie to me!  I'm the god of liars, you dork!" (47).  Graham Chaffee surrounds the story of DS with cleverly introduced modern urgings to get more.  As the boneless dog passes a phone booth, he hears "I'm tellin' ya, Sal -- ya can't lose…." (52),  Dead frogs with haloes trailing Hermes to the afterlife announce the moral for FK (63).  Is it true that I am noticing for the first time Krylov's "The Elephant in Favor" (71)?  It dramatizes effectively the importance of listening!  An eagle captures the tortoise and happens to drop him at the race's finish-line (97-102)!  GA is told in Disney fashion but adds dashed dreams of stardom by the musical grasshopper (103-108).  George O'Connor draws four fables; all other cartoonists here do just one.  A very small line at the bottom of the first page of each fable gives a generic source for the story.  Krylov, Bidpai, and Ambrose Bierce get into the fun, as do some folktales identified by their country of origin.  This is my kind of book!

2015 Fables in An Old Style/Fábulas En Un Estilo Antiguo: Book One.  Sylvia Ross; Spanish translation by Rosalinda Villareal Teller.  Paperbound.  Lexington, KY: Comparative Literature for Children:  Bentley Avenue Books.  $10 from Amazon.com, Nov., '15.

There are four fairytale stories here, each twenty to thirty pages in length, and each presented in English with a Spanish translation on the facing page: "The Apothecary's Garden"; The Wizard"; Doña Stephana and the Dragon"; and "Trees of Gold and Silver."  There are plenty of black-and-white full-page illustrations suitable for coloring.  The back cover describes the stories as "simple parables told with careful attention to traditional and modern values."  In her personal statement at the end of the book, Ross remembers the stories told by the nuns at St. Augustine's School in Los Angeles after lunch every day.  World War II brought its own dark threats to Los Angeles, but what the nuns read were "stories that told of peaceful lands and gentle people."  This book and its companion second volume were printed upon demand.

2015 Fables in An Old Style/Fábulas En Un Estilo Antiguo: Book Two.  Sylvia Ross; Spanish translation by Rosalinda Villareal Teller.  Paperbound.  Lexington, KY: Comparative Literature for Children:  Bentley Avenue Books.  $10 from Amazon.com, Nov., '15.

This book and its companion first volume were printed upon demand.  There are three stories here, each about forty pages in length, and each presented in English with a Spanish translation on the facing page: "The Stepmother"; The Woodswoman's Jewels"; and "A Story of Small Magic."  There are again plenty of black-and-white full-page illustrations suitable for coloring.  The back cover again describes the stories as "simple parables told with careful attention to traditional and modern values."  In her afterword for this book, Ross notes that these three stories come not from the fables she heard as a child.  "They arose from true incidents observed during the years I taught in a small, rural city."  "The conversion of harsh truths into fables is a time-honored tradition. These kinds of stories, even when they have sad or bittersweet endings, give consolation to children whose lives are troubled.  The same stories cannot help but broaden the empathy of children traveling through easier lives."

2015 Fábulas. Illustrated by Sofía García Aubert. Hardbound. Madrid: Editorial Libsa. $11.11 from The Book Depository, London, August, '15.

This is a tall (almost 8" x 11½") hardbound book with soft covers. It offers thirty-one fables, each with its own two-page spread, by a variety of authors. The only surprise among the authors is Jean-François Guichard, who presents "El sapo y la luciérnaga" (38). Apparently the toad eats the glow-worm because the glow-worm does something that the toad cannot do, namely "brillar," shine. It seems that Hartzenbusch also told this fable, and that may be the source of its inclusion here. I think Harzenbusch's "Monkey, Ass, and Mole" is new to me (24-25). Monkey complains of not having a tail, ass of not having horns, and mole of being blind. Typical of the book's big, strong art is "Los toros y las ranas" (30-31). I am happy to see a less frequent fable like SS show up in this group (52-53). Did I know before Iriarte's provocative fable of "The Elephant and the Other Animals" (56-57)? The elephant offers comments on how to live a good life and criticizes harmful faults. The predators start to criticize and leave. Apparently Iriarte's point is that he is not writing about particular men but about human faults. I think the closing sentiment is "If you believe it touches you, it is you -- not me -- that criticize you."

2015 Fábulas de Esopo.  Versiones de Delia Maunás.  Ilustraciones de Mima Castro.  Hardbound.  Buenos Aires: Colección Atrapacuentos:  El Gato de Hojalata: Editorial Guadal.  See 2010/2015.

2015 Fabulously Funny Fables.  Kathryn Gabrielle.  Paperbound.  Milton Keynes, UK:  Privately published.  $10 from an unknown source, Jan., '16.

This is an unpaginated print-upon-demand paperback of fifteen short stories and poems.  The cover is a pixelated picture of what seems to be a woman plucking flowers.  To get the flavor of this paperback book, try "(#3) A Can of Hairspray" and "(#8) A Tale of Envy and Compassion."  The latter is a  strong and simple piece that argues powerfully for values different from those ruling society.  Typos like "occurred" and bad spacing get in the way.  That this is a British rather than American account comes clear with the word "electric."

2015 Fabulously Funny Fables.  Kathryn Gabrielle.  Paperbound.  Milton Keynes, UK:  Privately published.  $10 from an unknown source, Jan., '16.

This is an unpaginated print-upon-demand paperback of fifteen short stories and poems.  The cover is a pixelated picture of what seems to be a woman plucking flowers.  To get the flavor of this paperback book, try "(#3) A Can of Hairspray" and "(#8) A Tale of Envy and Compassion."  The latter is a  strong and simple piece that argues powerfully for values different from those ruling society.  Typos like "occurred" and bad spacing get in the way.  That this is a British rather than American account comes clear with the word "electric."

2015 Garbage Pail Kids Magazine: Fables, Fantasy, and Farts: Fantasy Felicia: April, 2015.  Paperbound.  San Diego: IDW Publishing.  $4.99 from Jason Campbell, Salem, NJ, through eBay, May, '15.

Wow!  This magazine sets a new low standard for this collection.  The humor sometimes combines clever wordplays, but the standby is toilet humor with occasional violence that borders on the obscene.  I cannot find anything to do with fables.  There is frequent talk of quests.  I am afraid I would call this kind of literature mindless.  I include it here to stop the next fable enthusiast from bothering with it.

2015 Jean de La Fontaine: 25 Fables: Bilingual illustrated edition.  A new translation by Christopher Carsten.  Engravings by Sophie de Garam.  Preface by Sir Michael Edwards.  Signed by the translator.  Paperbound.  Paris: Librairie Editions Tituli.  $23.25 from Grolier Poetry Bookshop, Boston, July, '16.

Here is a fresh set of translations done quite consciously not only into American English but into contemporary idiom.  I have sampled the first six translations and found them lively and well chiseled.  "Sponge Donkey, Salt Donkey" gets moralized "Different strokes for different folks," and the proverb fits perfectly.  "The Man Between Two Ages and Two Mistresses" closes with these four lines: "Whichever one I pick, would in her fashion Have me live, and not in mine.  OK, I'm bald, but bald and celibate is fine.  I’m much obliged, my beauties, for the lesson."  Well done!  The black-and-white illustrations are less enlightening for me.

2015 La cigale et la fourmi.  Francois.  Paperbound.  Middletown, DE: (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).  $9 from Amazon, Sept., '15. 

This is a remarkable book.  It looks like we have reached the limit of on demand publication.  What is lacking in this book?  Indication of the author, publisher, and date.  What we have is a place, a fable of La Fontaine poorly formatted, and then some 102 unpaginated pages of creative development of La Fontaine's fable, I take it in a highly political and satirical vein.  The back cover gives this introduction, which Amazon repeats as its only real description of the book:  "Sous l'impulsion de la colonie des droits de l'insecte, l'union des vingt-sept fourmilières de la grande clairière s'organise pour sauver les cigales qui risquent leur vie tous les jours pour venir apporter leur gaieté de vivre aux fourmis travailleuses en l'échange d'une vie plus agréable qu'au sud du grand étang. Motivées par un groupe de jeune fourmis socialisantes, les travailleuses risquent leur vie pour la réussite de cette vaste opération de sauvetage. Malgré des centaines de pertes parmi les rangs des ouvrières, les braves travailleuses continueront le chantier pour le bonheur de participer au rayonnement de leur grandiose civilisation des lumières. Elles ont la joie de mourir pour une grande cause sous les regards incrédules de l'égoïste fourmilière de l'est de la grande clairière. Ces fourmis rouges, qui loin de vouloir participer, se mettent à construire des murs infranchissables aux fourmis et idées tolérantes de l'union des vingt-sept fourmilières. Et tout cela au mépris de la morale de monsieur de La Fontaine."  Ants, unite!  Unhappy cicadas, look forward to a better future for all animals!  I need to leave further exploration of this offshoot of La Fontaine to others better equipped to pick up the social criticism.

2015 Le petit Théâtre de La Fontaine: 8 Fables a Jouer Masqués.  Agnes de Lestrade and Gloria Pizzilli.  Tirage No. 1.  Paperbound.  Paris: Seuil Jeunesse: Éditions du Seuil.  $23.91 from Stars and Stripes Bookstore through Amazon.com, May, '16.

As the back of this assemblage well proclaims, we find here first a book to read; secondly, twenty scripts of parts to play; and thirdly eight masks to wear in those roles.  All three -- but particularly the first and third -- are well done.  The book is part of the sturdy portfolio that also includes an envelope for the other two materials.  At its heart, the book has a page for each of the eight La Fontaine texts and a dramatic illustration page facing that.  Then there are some tips on typical dimensions of theater.  My prizes here go to "The Sick Lion," FC, and WL.  The second offering is twenty single pages, each presenting the script of a fable for a particular character in that fable.  Thus, there is a page, front and back, for the hare in TH, with the hare's lines in bold print.  One could easily hand out these pages in, say, a class presentation of a fable.  Then thirdly there are the masks!  Colorful, dramatic, well conceived, and well constructed.  My prizes go to the fox, wolf, lion, and hare.  This is a wonderful use of La Fontaine's fables!  I will keep the whole set with the books.

2015 Les Fables de la Fontaine.  Illustrées par Thomas Tessier.  Hardbound.  (Paris): rue des enfants.  €32.59 from Nathalie Roy, Voiron, France, Dec., '16.

Here is a later and smaller edition of the 2013 "Mes plus belles Fables de La Fontaine" by the same publisher and above all by the same artist.  Here one finds 15 of the 25 fables presented there.  I continue to enjoy Tessier's highly imaginative presentations of La Fontaine's fables.  Each fable gets two pages, with text on the left-hand page and a clever illustration on the right-hand page.  Fable after fable, his imagination finds lively approaches to the story.  The ant in GA is pushing a full shopping card around the outside of a grasshopper concert!  Both the fox and the crow wear old-time French wigs as they argue their "case" in and below a tree.  We get to view the exploded parts of the frog in OF.  In MM, her future dreams are shadows in the puddle of spilled milk.  The wolf is gigantic as he towers over the lamb at the river.  WC is wonderfully dramatic, simple, and colorful.  The two mice are enjoying burgers, hot dogs, and fries as the cat comes upon them from a fire escape outside an open window.  FS becomes a theater drama acted on a stage.  This is stimulating, refreshing, creative work!  Other fables presented here include OR; "The Heron"; "The Farmer and His Sons"; LM; "The Little Fish and the Angler"; and "The Fox and the Goat."  T of C at the end.  There is a CD attached inside the front cover.  The cover illustration focuses in on WC.

2015 Les Fables de La Fontaine Illustrées par les Plus Grand Artistes.  Paperbound.  Paris: Circonflexe.  $12 from N. Roy, Voiron, France, through eBay, May, '16.

This large-format (9' x 11½") paperback presents a lovely variety of illustrators of La Fontaine's fables in vivid color.  There is no introduction or commentary.  There is a last page of short biographical comments on the sixteen artists.  Otherwise there are only pictures and texts.  Three are new to me: Thomas Tessier, Emmanuel Fornage, and Hermann Vogel.  I have already ordered the works of two of them because of this book!  Others represented include: Boutet de Monvel; Pieter Breughel; François Chauveau; Guastave Doré; Jean-Honoré Fragonard; André Hellé; Félix Lorioux; Franz Marc; Gustave Moreau; Jean-Baptiste Oudry; Benjamin Rabier; Auguste Vimar; and the 1894 Artistes de Tokyo gathered by Barboutau.  What a lovely book!  By the way, the editors may be cheating a little to use Breughel's "The Harvest" to illustrate "The Laborer and His Sons."  Was Oudry originally meant to be shown in color?

2015 Modern Fables.  Curt Moeller.  Paperbound.  Kumo Publishing.  $7.99 from Amazon, July, '18.

Here are eighteen stories in which animals act in very human ways.  One rabbit tricks another into letting the former sleep with the latter's Wife.  Horse and donkey get used to slavery, but in different ways.  Mice torment a cat but their ploys end up sharpening the cats claws, and they pay for their mistake.  A frog talks a fish into committing to live on land and laughs as the fish dies.  These unillustrated fables show good imagination.

2015 Mousetropolis.  R. Gregory Christie.  First edition, first printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  NY: Holiday House.  $13.71 from Amazon, Feb., '18.

This lively version focuses on the desire for an exchange, an experience of the other, and a quick return to one's own home.  The City Mouse in downtown Mousetropolis wakes up to too much noise and needs a vacation.  He responds immediately to an invitation from Country Mouse but sticks up his nose at his first country meal.  When he asks what Country Mouse does for fun, he finds himself on the way to a jamboree.  "Not bad," City Mouse says of the dancing.  But going home he senses danger, and he is right.  An owl watches them all the way.  The night is too hot and too quiet.  They both have the same idea and soon run for the train and land on top of a box car.  The station in Mousetropolis is full of music, dancing, and food  --  candy and cheese, of course!  But just as an owl had appeared in the country, a cat appears in the station and scatters the mice.  Country Mouse is quickly back home and says simply "Home."  The back endpaper shows the City Mouse saying the same thing.  Lively gouache illustrations.  Maybe the "Swoosh" picture on top of the boxcar is the most unusual.  The dancing figures on the front cover are also very well done.

2015 Mousetropolis.  R. Gregory Christie.  Fourth printing.  Paperbound.  NY: Holiday House.  $6.99 from Amazon, Feb., '18. 

This lively version focuses on the desire for an exchange, an experience of the other, and a quick return to one's own home.  The City Mouse in downtown Mousetropolis wakes up to too much noise and needs a vacation.  He responds immediately to an invitation from Country Mouse but sticks up his nose at his first country meal.  When he asks what Country Mouse does for fun, he finds himself on the way to a jamboree.  "Not bad," City Mouse says of the dancing.  But going home he senses danger, and he is right.  An owl watches them all the way.  The night is too hot and too quiet.  They both have the same idea and soon run for the train and land on top of a box car.  The station in Mousetropolis is full of music, dancing, and food  --  candy and cheese, of course!  But just as an owl had appeared in the country, a cat appears in the station and scatters the mice.  Country Mouse is quickly back home and says simply "Home."  The final pages show the City Mouse saying the same thing.  Lively gouache illustrations.  Maybe the "Swoosh" picture on top of the boxcar is the most unusual.  The dancing figures on the front cover are also very well done.

2015 Reynard the Fox.  Translated by James Simpson.  Illustrations by Edith E. Newman.  Foreword by Stephen Greenblatt.  First edition.  Hardbound.  Dust jacket.  NY:  Livewright Publishing Corporation: W.W. Norton.  $24.95 from Readers' Books, Sonoma, CA, July, '15.

First, it is very nice to see a book dedicated to an old friend, Jill Mann!  Secondly, it is great to encounter a Reynard book that offers an illustration of a number of the fables told in the book.  That page here is 177, and it includes "The Horse and the Wolf"; "The Horse and the Hart"; "The Man and the Snake"; "The Dog and the Ass"; and "The Wolf and the Crane."  Those are stories one could supposedly see in Reynard's magic mirror, as the text on 179-84 lays out.  Simpson helps the reader with good summaries of the sections and chapters.  Thus Part V reads "Reynard the Fox bamboozles and distracts the court with elaborate stories of nonexistent precious objects" (169).  Another helpful element is found just before the text itself begins: an "Animal Dramatis Personae" lists the major and minor players and describes the relation of each to Reynard.  The two major relations are "victim" and "friend."  Cuwaert the Hare for example has this beside his name: "eaten by Reynard."  I think a person could have a lot of fun with this book!

2015 Rimes of Ancient Fables.  Carl J. Hasper.  Illustrated by Gina Haver.  Paperbound.  Massapequa, NY: ProPress Books.  $1.72 from Amazon, Sept., '18.

Aesop and his stories keep generating lively things.  In this case, the fables have inspired a happy poet to retell forty fables and then transform his story into poetry.   The author concludes a little essay on Aesop this way: "I have seven or eight books of Aesop's fables in my home library.  I have endeavored to use them to learn how to write poetry.  First, I rewrite the fable in my own words and extract the moral, a again in my own words, in prose.  Then I tell the fable as poetry in rhymed couplets of ten syllables per line.  It is fun."  "Poetry" here has a heavy accent on rhyme.  The illustrations tell the stories well; a good example is the first, picturing either of the two wives holding a hair around a balding man.  The front cover features a hare wearing sunglasses and a Hawaiian lay.  Even the author's wife gets into the fun by admitting "Writing rhymed poetry has become his passion.  He wants to use his poetry to entertain and also teach.  It's a 'Double Whammy.'"  The story of this book is indeed a matter of fun!

2015 The Grasshopper and the Ant.  Jerry Pinkney.  First printing.  Hardbound.  Dust-jacket.  NY: Little, Brown, and Company.  $18 from Black Oak Books, Berkeley, June, '15.

Here is another strong and well considered Jerry Pinkney book.  The artist's statement at the end of the book is helpful.  Pinkney's wawtercolors stress the colors of the seasons as nature changes from summer to fall and then to winter.  He also stresses the musical quality of the story.  His special gift here is in painting faces and particularly eyes.  Do not miss the cover illustration, which is not the same as the dust-jacket illustration.  Pinkney's form of the story has the Queen Ant offering the freezing grasshopper a cup of tea.  He sees the ants learning to share and the grasshopper learning to work.  This grasshopper makes snow angels, snowmen, and snow hoppers!  He is a one-man band, complete with guitar, drum, cymbals, and accordion.  The key to his depiction here is that he is alone.  Near the end is a surprising "fold-up" page to add height to a two-page spread.  The grasshopper is above ground while the ants are below ground.  Pinkney directs readers to the endpapers to see how the grasshopper has learned to work, but I have trouble finding the evidence for his learning, beautiful as the endpapers are.

2015 The McFables: Selected Aesop's Fables in Scots.  Glenn Muir.  Paperbound.  McStorytellers.  $10 from an unknown source, August, '16.

Here is a published-upon-demand book worth publishing!  The rhyming Scots verse is fun!  I enjoyed reading the first five or six out loud, murdering no doubt the Scots pronunciation.  Nice finds along the way included, in AL, "But the Lion jist held oot his paw Whilst lookin helluva miserable."  The last line of BC is "This question brocht forth the soond o silence."  The final two lines of FG are ""Och weel" quo he "I shouldnae gripe.  Nae doot they're soor, they'll no be ripe."  It is fun to see people having fun with the fables!  T of C at the beginning.

2015 The Monkey and the Crocodile and Other Fables from the Jataka Tales of India.  Retold by Ellen C. Babbitt.  Illustrations by Ellsworth Young.  Paperbound.  Mineola, NY:  Dover Publications.  $9.01 from Ebooksweb through eBay, June, '18.

Here is a new edition by Dover that puts together two books published in 1912 and 1922, respectively, by Century.  (Dover gives the date for the first as 1918.)  This is a typically clean, well produced Dover book.  I will repeat comments I made on the two.  The first contains eighteen fables.  These stories are clearly written for children.  Some of the stories have more potential than is realized in these somewhat simplified and moralized tellings.  "How the Turtle Saved His Own Life" (10) may be the best of a lot that is largely new to me.  The glory of this book lies in the deft silhouette-like illustrations, one or two for each story.  Outstanding examples of these are on 22, 47, 76, and 86.  The second contains twenty-one fables, with a T of C before them. Again, I am taken first with the exquisite silhouettes. Notice the detail in the red-bud tree on 134, for example. Most of the stories are new to me. The fishes in The Three Fishes (108) are named as in the standard Kalila and Dimna story, but the story now has to do with one fish who saves two others from a net. The Golden Goose (121) presents a goose whose golden feathers turn white if they are plucked out against his wish. Furthermore, the new feathers that come in are not golden either. I like The Cunning Wolf (127). In it the wolf reveals a man playing dead by tugging at his weapon. The Woodpecker and the Lion (136) seems like a replay of WC.

2015 The Oracle's Fables: Life Lessons for Children Inspired by Warren Buffett.  John Prescott.  Illustrations by Tom Kerr.  Hardbound.  Dallas: Taylor Specialty Books.  Gift, Sept., '15. 

"Life Lessons for children based on quotes from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett."  Fourteen fables get each a two-page spread, with an illustration on one page and a text on the other.  The first fable is a good exemplar: "The Mice, The Beaver and Old Man Winter."  The mice refuse the beaver's offer of a dam and trust to winter's ice.  The latter gives them a good bridge in winter but sweeps them away in spring.  A second fable, "The Frog and The Snake," has a frog seeking better territory but then returning home only to find a snake has inhabited his den.  "Never risk what you have and need for what you don't have and don't need" (4).  Good advice!  In a fable similar to TMCM, a young raccoon setting out meets an old raccoon, whose life in the city was good but destructive for him.  The young raccoon thanks him and goes into the forest rather than the city.  The story of an overeager badger concludes with this lovely moral: "The most important thing t o do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging" (8).  A bear learns from a fellow bear mauled by bees to seek berries instead.  The author cleverly puts Buffett's good advice into the story of a small sea turtle ready to break out of his shell and make a dash for the sea: "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful" (12).  A stray puppy becomes a trusted pet over years and then bites the farmer's hand.  "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.  If you thin about that you'll do things differently" (15).  A later gem is this: "Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future" (16).  "The Three Fish" (20) is vintage Aesop: "Middle-sized fish urges big fish to stop eating the little fish, which he himself wants to eat, and to go after middle sized fish.  So big fish immediately eats middle fish.  The final fable, "The Greedy Queen Bee," finishes with this moral: "If you're in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent" (29).  The art is, I would say, adequate.  This book is more engaging than I thought it would be.

2015 The Oracle's Fables: Life Lessons for Children Inspired by Warren Buffett.  John Prescott.  Illustrations by Tom Kerr.  Hardbound.  Dallas: Taylor Specialty Books.  Gift of MaryAnne and Tim Rouse, Dec., '17.

Here is a second copy of a book I have already enjoyed.  This copy is inscribed to me and signed by Tom Kerry and John Prescott.  I am delighted to include it in the collection.  As I wrote of the first copy I was given, this book is more engaging than I thought it would be.  The subtitle is "Life Lessons for children based on quotes from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett."  Fourteen fables get each a two-page spread, with an illustration on one page and a text on the other.  The first fable is a good exemplar: "The Mice, The Beaver and Old Man Winter."  The mice refuse the beaver's offer of a dam and trust to winter's ice.  The latter gives them a good bridge in winter but sweeps them away in spring.  A second fable, "The Frog and The Snake," has a frog seeking better territory but then returning home only to find a snake has inhabited his den.  "Never risk what you have and need for what you don't have and don't need" (4).  Good advice!  In a fable similar to TMCM, a young raccoon setting out meets an old raccoon, whose life in the city was good but destructive for him.  The young raccoon thanks him and goes into the forest rather than the city.  The story of an overeager badger concludes with this lovely moral: "The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging" (8).  A bear learns from a fellow bear mauled by bees to seek berries instead.  The author cleverly puts Buffett's good advice into the story of a small sea turtle ready to break out of his shell and make a dash for the sea: "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful" (12).  A stray puppy becomes a trusted pet over years and then bites the farmer's hand.  "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.  If you think about that you'll do things differently" (15).  A later gem is this: "Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future" (16).  "The Three Fish" (20) is vintage Aesop: "Middle-sized fish urges big fish to stop eating the little fish, which he himself wants to eat, and to go after middle sized fish.  So big fish immediately eats middle fish.  The final fable, "The Greedy Queen Bee," finishes with this moral: "If you're in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent" (29).

2015 The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable Retold and Illustrated by Bernadette Watts.  First printing.  Hardbound.  Dust jacket.  NY: North-South Books.  $14.22 from Amazon.com, Feb., '17.

This is my sixth book by Watts dating back to 1992.  It was first published and copyrighted in 2015 by Nord-Süd Verlag AG, Gossau Zürich under the title "Der Hase und die Schildkröte."  This lovely oversized edition starts and ends in unusual ways.  The tortoise takes the initiative at a friendly picnic of the animals.  The hare dawdles while eating along the way.  One of the best moments in the illustrations has him gorging on lettuce and smiling.  Watts is again very good at filling in the illustrations with various little animals, plants, and other objects scattered around the scene.  In this version the passing tortoise hears the hare snoring!  Unusual at the end is that the hare is the first to congratulate the tortoise.  They leave happily together.  "It was my own fault."

2015 Von eitlen Raben und schlauen Füchsen: Die schönsten Tierfabeln.  Nacherzählt von Sabine Tauber.  Illustrationen von Eleanor Sommer.  Hardbound.  Munich:  Prestel.  €9.95 from Hassbecker's Heidelberg, August, '17. 

This is one of many books lovingly set aside by the manager of Hassbecker's.  My last visit had been probably three years earlier, and she had been setting aside fable books ever since!  This one is a delight.  Its back cover speaks of the forty nicest animal fables from a variety of authors newly narrated for this edition, the texts complemented by charming illustrations with lively color arranged in the manner of collages.  New to me and worthy are several fables: "The Apes" by Gherardo de Rossi (8); "The Ass and the Jackdaw" by Lichtwer (38); "The Horse and the Fox," also by Rossi (52); and "The Worm and the Butterfly" by Herder (58).  The frontispiece, repeated on 31, of DLS offers a good example of Sommer's appealing collage-like art.  Particularly pleasing is her rendition of BF on 79.

2015 40 Fun Fables: Tales That Trick, Tickle, and Teach.  Retold by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss.  Illustrations by Baird Hoffmire.  Paperbound.  Atlanta, GA:  August House.  $8.95 from Amazon, August, '16.

Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss style themselves as "Beauty and the Beast Storytellers."  This book represents a good testimonial to the enduring attraction of fables.  Hamilton and Weiss approach the stories as engaging storytellers.  Their good renditions of the stories are complemented by helpful presentations on how these fables fulfill the requirements of Common Core State Standards.  A second appendix traces, perhaps in a slightly popular manner, the sources of these stories.  The forty fables are divided into groups: "Starter Stories"; "Next Step Stories"; "Challenging Stories"; and "Most Challenging Stories."  In several stories the authors offer good developments beyond the original fables.  For example, CJ (12) has a second phase: a boy passes by and finds the diamond a great gift for his mother.  Similarly, in the story of the two stubborn goats (14) the two not only knock each other off the bridge.  In the water they blame each other.  New to me is "The Oyster and the Heron" (54).  The cartoons are helpful, if somewhat predictable.  Be careful: the source investigation at the end is based on alphabetical order, not the order of presentation in this engaging book.



2016 A Novel Journal: Aesop's Fables.  Aesop.  Hardbound.  San Diego: Canterbury Classics:  Peter Norton: Printers Row Publishing Group.  $8.67 from Bargain Book Stores, Grand Rapids, MI, June, '16.

Here is a first!  This is indeed a journal for writing one's thoughts and experiences.  The tiny lines in the journal are Aesop's fables.  As an advertising slip proclaims, "The journal lines are the novel (in teeny, tiny text)!"  Teeny tiny is right!  To make reading even harder, the fables' titles are done in yellow against white.  Many will find them impossible to read.  The cover is graced by "Whatever you do, do with all of your might.  --Aesop."  There is one ribbon to mark one's place and another to keep the book closed.  Clever idea!

2016 Aesop's Fables (a selection): An Intermediate Ancient Greek Reader.  C.T. Hadavas.  Various.illustrators   Paperbound.  Published by C.T. Hadavas.  $12.95 from Amazon, Maiy, '18.

What a delightful discovery!  I have had this book for over six months and now at last have a chance to look into it.  IL would say that Prof. Hadavas is a kindred spirit.  He obviously likes fables!  For the 34 fables presented here in Greek with notes and vocabulary, there is a wide variety of engaging translations and illustrations, highlighted by Rackham's FG on the front cover in black-and-white and Crane's "Lion in Love" in color on the back cover.  Imagine my surprise when I began moving into the extensive introductory materials to find that I was there with Ben E. Perry and Laura Gibbs on the page of acknowledgments!  Thank you!  I also noted happily the nod to the discussion I offered on the definition of fable (xiii, mentioned again on xxiii).  The variety of illustrators and translators would make this a great book in which to try out one's Greek!  The two illustrators I want to learn more about are Mulready and Takeo Takei.  In fact, I just made an offer on the latter's fable book because of this reading!

2016 Aesop's Fables Coloring Book.  Charles Santore.  First edition, first printing.  Paperbound.  Portland, OR: Pomegranate Communications, Inc.  $10.76 from JRM Group LLC through Ebay, August, ''17.

Here is a soft-cover book with staple binding offering 21 images to color on 48 pages.  The images are preparatory drawings for the watercolor paintings Santore did for his Aesop's Fables, published by Sterling Children's Books in 2010.  Morals for the 21 drawings are listed at the beginning and under each appropriate drawing.  The inside covers present the paintings themselves, including the cover's dramatic picture of the owl and grasshopper -- perhaps just before the owl takes care of this nuisance by eating him!  The comparison of the early drawing with the final product is intriguing.  If nothing else, these drawings show where the artist is deciding to put his focus.  Nicely done!

2016 Aesop's Fables on Stage: A Collection of Children's Plays.  Julie Meighan.  First edition.  Paperbound.  Cork, Ireland: JemBooks.  $7.99 from Amazon, Sept., '16.

Here is a paperback book printed a week before I ordered it.  After eleven "drama games" not related to fables, the book offers eighteen plays based on Aesopic fables.  In GA on 17, the grasshopper is listening to music on his iPod.  The grasshopper in winter goes to various animals who refuse to feed him.  The bears, for example, are angry that he wakes them up.  The ants give him food but make him promise that next year he will work hard in the summer.  The moral: "Fail to prepare?  Prepare to fail!"  In TH (20), after several animals quip that the tortoise could not beat the hare, the eagle suggests a race.  After a great first half of the race, the hare decides to take a nap.  In BW (24), one of the sheep makes the first suggestion that the boy shepherd pretend that there a wolf is attacking the sheep.  The next time, the sheep do not know that it is a trick. They challenge the boy afterwards: "You frightened us."  A reader needs to be pleased with the creativity that goes into this book.  It may be the only book I have seen in a while which takes a special page to say "The End" (70).

2016 Aesop's Fables: The Lion and the Mouse. Illustrated by Gavin Scott. Paperbound.  Essex, England: Miles Kelly.  $7.95 from World of Books, Feb., ‘18.

I find this a strong presentation of the familiar fable.  The little mouse is particularly curious,and thus he ventures into the lion's cave, where he is promptly caught.  Perhaps the best image of this oversized pamphlet shows the mouse with closed eyes enjoying the racing of the lion in the jungle while sitting in his mane.  “The weak really can help the strong" is added before "Little friends can be big friends."  More than 10 inches square.

2016 Big Book of Aesop's Fables.  Editorial Director: Rosie Neave.  Artists: Kate Daubney, Monika Filipina, Andy Rowland, and Barbara Vagnozzi.  First printing.  Hardbound.  Essex, UK: Miles Kelly.  Gift of Wendy Wright, Nov., '16.

This IS a big book of Aesop's fables!  It is 10½" square.  The pictures are large and dynamic.  I agree with the back cover: "perfect for reading aloud with your child."  Each artist develops one story.  It strikes me that these four -- TH, BW, GA, and TMCM -- are probably the four best known fables these days.  The tortoise goes to bed the night before the race in TH, while the hare parties late with the badgers.  Well into the race, the hare can look back and see how far behind the tortoise is.  Then he eats lettuce and decides to take a short nap.  "After all, he'd had a late night, and the tortoise was far behind" (19).  "The hare had lost his own challenge.  From now on perhaps he wouldn't be so boastful" (26).  On the second day of alarm in BW, little George breaks into a courtroom to cry "There really is a wolf this time!" (40).  The people who grumbled after the first alarm now become very cross.  Soon after they leave, George notices something moving in the trees.  In GA, the grasshopper does nothing in summer but sleep, eat, dance, and make music.  There is no indication that others enjoy his music or profit from it.  Thus he admits to the ant at the latter's door in winter "I didn't do any work at all!" (69).  In this version, the ant gives him as much food as he could spare: just enough to see the grasshopper through the winter.  These miserable months teach him a lesson.  The following summer he works hard to store enough food for himself.  He even finds time to help the ant!  "There is a time for work and time for play" (75).  In TMCM, the plain country food is bread and cheese and the bed is made of leaves.  The point of emphasis about the town house is that it is comfortable.  In town, they meet a cat in the kitchen and hide under a cup.  Dogs interrupt them as they feast in the dining room. Each traveling mouse wears a backpack.

2016 Fabeln von Jean de La Fontaine.  Translator Johanna Wege.  Illustriert von Marc Chagall.  Erste Auflage.  Hardbound.  Berlin: Insel Bücherei #2021: Insel Verlag.  €16 from Hassbecker's, Heidelberg, August, '17.

This lovely little book with its 43 colored illustrations is heavily dependent on the edition from Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux in Paris from 1995.  It was great of Frau Hassbecker to create a little collection of recent German fable books for me, and this was one of them.  I believe that it reproduces the 43 extant – or acknowledged – Chagall works out of the 100 that he did before the war.  I suspect that many either went underground or were destroyed in WWII.  The color reproductions here are excellent.  Among the best I would rate SS (12); CW (24); FG (34); "Eagle, Cat, and Sow" (36); "Wolf, Mother, and Child" (50); "The Old Woman and the Maids" (60); "The Satyr and the Traveler" (62); TB (80); MSA (86); and "The Joker and the Fishes" (96).  This is a lovely little edition!

2016 Fables Across Time: Kalila And Dimna.  Sabiha Al Khemir.  Hardbound.  NY: American Folk Art Museum.  $21.95 from Amazon, June, '17.

Heavy, well-made landscape-formatted book 11¼" x 8¼".  The book works in English in one direction and in Arabic in the other, with mirror-opposites of the same illustrations at each step along the way towards the book's center.  The book's three stories are "Three Fish," "The Lion and the Ox," and "Four Friends," each story covering some twenty pages.  "Three Fish" presents an even more immediate threat than in some other versions I have read.  The wise fish is gone immediately without even saying good-bye, and the fishermen are already putting their nets into the water.  The other two stories, that are told in such leisure elsewhere with illustrative fables, are pared down to the strict narrative.  I feel the loss!  One good illustration in "The Lion and the Ox" shows Kalila and Dimna facing each other on 45-46.  The Dimna page appears also on the cover of the book.  A second good illustration shows Dimna whispering into King Lion's ear (49).  "Four Friends" presumes an already-existing friendship between the gazelle and the turtle.  There is an excellent rendition of the doves in the net on 62-63.  A happy collaboration among art museums – in Bahrain, Indianapolis, and New York – brought this beautiful book into existence.

2016 Fairy Tales and Fables.  Eve Morel.  Illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa.  Hardbound.  NY: Sterling Children's Books.  Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, Dec., '18.

This book was originally copyrighted by Grosset and Dunlap in 1970.  Our collection has a 1973 printing of that edition.  The copyright was taken over by Ronald Fujikawa in 2008.  Surprising about that fact is that he took over copyright not only to Fujikawa's illustrations but to Morel's texts.  Now Sterling reprints that edition.  The only change I can notice is in the pagination.  I was originally surprised to find that this book includes the earlier edition labeled "Fairy Tales" by the same pair.  As I wrote then, Morel does an excellent job of telling the fourteen fables that are here, including the morals as a final statement within the story.  The bull makes an apt final comment about the gnat, for example: "It takes a small mind to be so conceited" (27).  CP ends with "Where there's a will, there's always a way" (55).  MSA (94) has several unusual features:  baskets of produce figure in the story; all the principals fall into the water; the produce is lost; the donkey swims away.  SW (51) follows the poorer version.  My favorite illustration is still of the cat pulling down the tablecloth (26).  Here is a great wildcard inclusion: "The Dragon and the Monkey" (42), the old "I left my heart at home" story.

2016 Hare and Tortoise.  Alison Murray.  Hardbound.  Dust jacket.  Somerville, MA:  Candlewick Press.  $15.29 from Strand Books, NY, August, '16.

First published in Great Britain in 2015 by Orchard Books. London.  This is a large-format -- almost 10" x 12" -- children's book.  It sets a young reader up well for things to come in the race when it describes hare in terms that will come to play later.  His ears are accustomed to the sound of animals cheering, and his paws are used to crossing the finish line in first place.  "And he has NEVER been known to resist a carrot."  Similarly, Tortoise will always do her best.  "I may be slow but I'll give it a go."  A map gives a sense of the race's phases, including a carrot patch.  A few nibbles lead to a tiny nap.  Hare dreams of animals cheering: there is the clue.  He wakes up to that cheering and tries to catch up but loses by a breath.  Big broad illustrations and rhyming couplets help tell this tale well.  Tortoise consoles Hare at the end: "You might just win next time" and then suggests a race to the lettuce patch.  The endpapers reproduce in monochrome the map of the race.

2016 La Laitière et le Pot au Lait.  Alexandre Jardin.  Illustrated by Fred Multier.  Hardbound.  Paris: Les petits secrets des Fables:  Hachette Jeunesse.  $10 in Paris, August, '17. 

The colophon for this charming little booklet is so long and complex that I could not find out some of the information that I needed.  Hachette, McDonald's, The Marketing Store Worldwide, and Havi Global Solutions seem to have the rights locked up, but which of them produced this booklet or where is not clear.  Apparently the series takes La Fontaine's fables and makes them into a page by page quest, where we need to answer questions -- not necessarily germane to the fable -- before moving on.  This milkmaid is swinging her pail around rather than carrying it on her head, and she has Billy, her friendly puppy, with her.  La Fontaine's fable is given the last two pages.  Before then we get a longer prose version that wanders through some 25 pages.  The setting is the "Far West."  Billy accompanies her as she is swinging the pot.  Question:  What has impressed the serpent in the corner?  Answer: the horns of the bull.  As Billy and Perrette converse about her eggs in the next scene, our question concerns the Mariachi band playing near them.  And so on.  Perrette's dreams even construct a gigantic amusement park and get her into a circus performance.  My!  There is plenty of spirit and imagination here.  I think La Fontaine would love it, if he would recognize it.  This booklet inspired me to seek the rest of the booklets in the series.  It is not yet clear whether I will be able to "bring them in."

2016 Le corbeau et le renard.  Jean de La Fontaine.  Illustrated by Séverine Duchesne.  Paperbound.  Champigny-sur-Marne:  Éditions Lito.  €2.50 from Gibert Jeune, Paris, August, '17.

This is a colorful cartoonlike presentation of FC on stiff shiny paper.  The presentation consists of five two-page spreads that play well with the story.  The crow rests on a pillow in his perch, with squirrel, worm, and butterfly as his neighbors.  The fox wears human clothes, including suspenders, jeans, and sneakers.  The squirrel holds his ears when the crow breaks into jubilant song.  Three other booklets in the series are illustrated on the back cover.

2016 Life and Soul in Fables.  Alan Wong.  Paperbound.  London: Austin Macauley.  Gift of the publishers, May, '16.

Let me offer a quick reaction and then include some comments from the publisher's agent, who offered me the book.  I find this book a noble effort.  It is a challenge to write fables that can compel contemporary readers.  I enjoyed the first few fables in this book.  I also wondered: can the writer continue to write short, pointed fables?  For me, the answer is not clear.  I tried various fables after the first few.  Several confirmed my fears that the author would want to write longer stories.  One ("The Loveless Maiden" [44]) confirmed my fear that short fables would be obvious.  I look forward to reading more.  Here is what the agent wrote to me.  “Life and Soul in Fables,” the debut collection of fables from Alan Wong is an enchanting collection of fables with morals and messages very pertinent to our present day lifestyle. Expressed through easily accessible tales from nature, told through the interactions of animals and plants as well as people, the collection explores important themes like friendship, strength, arrogance, conceit, humility and many other characteristics spanning the whole breadth of human emotions. The talented writer says: 'I first starting reading Aesop’s Fables whilst I was attending University in Birmingham. My interest was such that I wanted to begin writing them myself. The stories in my book are inspired by many different works, observations and general experiences in my life. Each fable gives us an insight about the effects of wrongdoing, the rewards of virtue or a deeper understanding of the world around us.'"

2016 My Treasury of Aesop's Fables.  Written by Jan Payne.  Illustrated by Michael Terry.  First printing.  Hardbound.  Cottage Farm, Sywell, Northampton, UK: Igloo Books Ltd.  $12.95 from Zuber through Ebay, July, '18. 

This book is built off a 2013 publication by the same team and still has that 2013 copyright.  It has reduced from 25 fables on 192 pages to 23 fables on 176.  Dropped from there are BC and "The Gnat and the Lion."  The cover has changed from being puffy and featuring TH to colored boards with a dozen characters.  On the earlier cover was "A Beautiful Collection of Timeless Tales"; now we find "A classic collection of fantastic fables."  What was there a cockerel has here become a rooster.  "A" treasury has become "My" treasury, and the book's fancy ribbon has disappeared.  I continue to find the versions and the illustrations playful and helpful.  As I observed then, the versions routinely soften drastic outcomes in the fables.  In BW, the boy says the first two times that the shepherd's shouting scared the wolf off (9-10).    In this version of GA, the ant happens by the grasshopper in winter and helps the grasshopper on condition that he promise to change next summer (27).   A snail travelling with the tortoise in TH is so exhausted that we can see his breath (33).  A mouse rides on the tortoise's back in the same picture.  There is a fine double-page (38-39) of the dramatic moment in LM.  Another happy ending comes in DS (49) when the dog's mistress gives him the bone which he lost and which she then found in the stream.  In FG, the fox tries to pole vault and to let the breeze carry him and his umbrella (69).  In GGE, the farmer and his wife demand more production from the "Golden Goose" (84), threatening otherwise to take her to market.  This goose leaves, and the couple bickers until they get over their greed and return to their former way of life.  The occasion for TT is that the tortoise wants to have some fun and has envied other animals.  There is a fine illustration of the larger tortoise between the two ducks just after takeoff on 116.  The tortoise answers a crow "I am special" and tumbles to the ground but only has the wind knocked out of him.  "From now on I will be happy just being me!" (119).  The donkey does a fine dance on the table (125) before the lapdog explains the donkey to the farmer.  Another fine image has the farmer's wife running to help punish the crazy donkey .  "The Lion and the Elephant" is also well done: "Everyone has something they are afraid of" (155).  "The Hare and the Hound" moralizes aptly: "Winning often depends on who needs to win the most" (161).  The fox tries several approaches with the crow in FC: the cheese is too large for one bird; the cheese will make the crow fat; we need to talk closer to each other; people say you have a great singing voice (163-66).

2016 Russian Fables Bilingual Edition (English-Russian).  lvan Krylov.  Paperbound.  Middletown, DE: NA (Amazon Digital Services LLC?).  $8 from Amazon, June, '18.

This book is a curious specimen.  It offers, on facing pages, ten of Krylov's most popular fables.  While it has ISBN numbers, it does not have a publisher.  It does not acknowledge a translator.  The translations are in prose.  Of course, it was printed upon demand soon after I ordered it.  What an unusual pamphlet!

2016 The Cricket and the Ant: A Shabbat Story.  Naomi Gen-Gur.  Illustrated by Shahar Kober.  Paperbound.  Minneapolis, MN: PJ Library: Jewish Bedtime Stories and Songs:  Kar-Ben Publishing: Lerner Publishing Group.  $5 from Secondhand bookshop, Union Station, Washington, DC, Sept., '18.

Originally published in Hebrew under the title "Can You Spare a Grain of Sugar?" by Kaibbbutz Hameuchad Publishing House in Israel.  The two characters have animal bodies but human clothes.  The hard-working ant has a babushka and glasses.  The story goes through the cricket's week.  On Friday morning he stays in bed before he will bake a "yum-yummy cake" for Shabbat.  He oversleeps and awakens on Friday afternoon to find no food in his pantry, fridge, or cupboard.  He goes to his neighbor ant no less than four times to ask for different ingredients.  Ant rests, happy that she has helped a friend.  Ant however also oversleeps and has forgotten to turn off her oven.  Her Shabbat cake is totally burned.  Just as ant is despairing over her meager meal, cricket surprises her with an invitation to share his cake.  They sing and dance together.   This is a clever adaptation of the traditional fable with a whole new kind of lesson to be learned.

2016 The Grieving Widow and Other Fables.  Phoenix  J. Coulton.  Paperbound.  Milton Keynes, UK: Xlibris: Lightning Source.  $24.18 from Wordery through Ebay, Nov., '18. 

The title fooled me on this book of the creative prose and poetry of Phoenix Coulton.  For some reason, I presumed that the title story was a version of "The Widow of Ephesus" and that the "other fables" were fables.  As a reading of the first few offerings shows, I was wrong.  I keep the book in the collection to help others -- and me -- know that it is not a book of Aesopic fables.  Though the selections are not illustrated, the back cover's "watering eye" illustration is attractive.

2016 The King of Crap and Other Fables for Grown-Up Kids.  Kathryn Star Huggins.  Cover Art by Raynola Dominguez.  Paperbound.  Bonners Ferry, Idaho: Star Dancer Publications.  $7.99 from Amazon, Oct., '16.

This is a book of short fictional stories based on contemporary pop psychology.  The King of Crap is a king who does not know he is a king.  Responding to early put-downs, he sees himself as nothing more than a shoveler of crap -- until a woman has confidence in him and encourages him to experience his own worth, in fact his kingliness.  "Backpack Land" (12) is about a land where people put negative experiences as bricks or rocks into their personal backpacks and live with them for the rest of their lives.  The heroine of the story at last decides to take bricks out of her backpack and to stop putting them in.  In the last line of the story, freed from her backpack, she drives out of backpack land. 

2016 The Mysterious Library: A Coloring Book Journey Into Fables.  Translated by Lauren Na.  Illustrated by Eunji Park.  First printing.  Paperbound.  Waves of Color:  Seven Seas Entertainment.  $12.56 from Joslyn Art Museum, Jan., ‘18.

First published in 2015 by Hyeonamsa Publishing Company in Korea.  I bought this book at the Joslyn, happy to find a fable book that they had discovered of which I had known nothing.  Alas, it is not a fable book at all.  A young girl wanders into a library and encounters glorious pictures -- to be colored -- relating to a number of classic fairytales.  The fairytales are identified by pages in the last few pages of this large-format book almost 10" square.

2016 The Lion Inside.  Rachel Bright.  Illustrated by Jim Field.  First Scholastic Paperback Printing.  Paperbound.  NY: Scholastic.  $7.45 from Amazon, March, ‘18.  

Having found a hardbound edition, I wanted to get a paperbound copy as well.  Here it is.  First published in the UK in 2015 by Orchard Books.  Rhyming quatrains.  The diminutive mouse wants to be someone.  He wants to roar!  "If you want things to change, you first have to change…YOU!”  It turns out that this lion is frightened of mice!  "No matter our size, we all have a lion and mouse inside!"  Perhaps the two most significant illustrations in this encouraging booklet are the small illustration on the title-page in which the frightened mouse is reading a book "How to Roar" and the central two-page spread in which the lion sees the mouse and declares "Eeek!"

2016 The Lion Inside.  Rachel Bright.  Illustrated by Jim Field.  Third Scholastic Printing.  Hardbound.  NY: Scholastic.  $10.40 from Amazon, March, ‘18.  

First published in the UK in 2015 by Orchard Books.  Rhyming quatrains.  The diminutive mouse wants to be someone.  He wants to roar!  "If you want things to change, you first have to change…YOU!”  It turns out that this lion is frightened of mice!  "No matter our size, we all have a lion and mouse inside!"  Perhaps the two most significant illustrations in this encouraging booklet are the small illustration on the title-page in which the frightened mouse is reading a book "How to Roar" and the central two-page spread in which the lion sees the mouse and declares "Eeek!"

2016 The Original Fables of La Fontaine: Tales for Children of Many Lands.  Frederick Colin Tilney.  Paperbound.  Publisher not acknowledged.  $11.61 from Grand Eagle Retail through eBay, Sept., '16.

This is a curious published-upon-demand book.  It represents some of the features that set me against this style of book.  It seems to be a reprinting, including illustrations, of a book first published in 1913.  I write "seems" because the publishers do not indicate the date of the original which they are copying.  The front cover presents a lively picture of the fox waiting for the crow to drop his circle of cheese.  The back cover strangely reverts to a French-language commendation of La Fontaine's fables.  Turn two pages inside the book and we see the erroneous title for the frontispiece "The heart of Thyrsis left" whereas the list of illustrations four pages later has the correct "The heart of Thyrsis leapt."  Readers may be upset at the wandering margins, for example, in that list of illustrations.  Of course the colored illustrations are here rendered in black-and-white.  The original was printed, as one finds here on the title page, by London: J.M. Dent and Sons in London and by E.P. Dutton in New York.  One looks here in vain for an acknowledgement of the publisher of this printing.

2016 Tomi Ungerer: A Treasury of 8 Books.  Tomi Ungerer.  Boxed.  Hardbound.  NY:  Phaidon Press.  $33.96 from Amazon, Nov., '18.

This is a lavish large edition of some of Tomi Ungerer's best work.  Even the box and the cover are pretty!  I have to admit right away that I believe I was deceived by someone's description of this book as "8 Fables by Tomi Ungerer."  Now I cannot find that description.  While he himself describes his stories as "fables," they are, I believe, longer stories that teach things as fables teach things.  I read the first two stories and enjoyed them thoroughly.  "The Three Robbers" suggests, in Ungerer's own words before the story "Evil can be the most fertile ground for good, and good can learn from the cleverness of evil."  Finding little Tiffany and stealing her convert the robbers' energy into all sorts of good enterprises involved in her care.  Similarly, "Zeralda's Ogre" shows how "The stomach knows how to feed the heart."  Instead of eating Zeralda, the ogre loves eating what she cooks!  Soon enough, local ogres and ogresses are feasting sumptuously on her recipes and have "all lost their taste for children."  The visual artistry is wonderfully engaging.

2016 Walt Kelly's Fables and Funnies: Dell Comics Stories 1942-1949.  Compiled by David W. Tosh.  Introduction by John E. Petty.  First edition, first printing.  Hardbound.  Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books.  $33.51 from Amazon, June, '16.

As John Petty's introduction makes clear, this book looks beyond the usual fascination -- well deserved, of course -- with Walt Kelly's "Pogo" comic strips to a fruitful time when Kelly, after working on Disney's "Fantasia," "Dumbo," and "Pinocchio" and before developing "Pogo" worked for Western Publishing and Dell Comics.  What we find here is a mixture of one-page presentations of nursery rhymes and longer narratives, most 6 to 20 pages in length, gathered here in six chapters.  One sample coming close to some fable situations is "Elephunnies" (83-90), but the story goes through many stages.  I think Kelly is at his best presenting and parodying traditional nursery rhymes.  "Sing a Song of Sixpence" and other nursery rhymes are played straight with delightful cartoons on 141-150.  A good example of playing with nursery rhymes is "Mix-up" on 116.  Other than the pairing of fox and crow on 206, I can find no reference to or use of Aesopic fable materials here.  But, oh, the visual artistry is exquisite!  People reading "Fables" in the title here will wonder if there really are fables, and so I keep the book in the collection.

2016 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales Collected from Around the World.  Retold by Tom Baker.  Designed by Brenda McCallum.  Hardbound.  Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.  $9.99 from Amazon, Jan., '17.

This is a collection strong on engaging stories.  Fables make up perhaps 80% or 90% of the book.  The designs along the way are not remarkable.  That could be a cheese dropping from the crow's beak toward the fox below on the cover; both have red in their eyes.  Some stories are new to me, like "The Priest and the Robber" (21).  Some have a good deal of magic, like "The Boy's Toe Bone" (19).  I am happy to see "Stone Soup" included in a book like this (27).  One seldom sees "The Green Jackass" (13).  "The Jackal and the Elephant's Carcass" (52) is a strong fable, new to me.  The greedy jackal gets caught inside an elephant carcass!  The stories are well told.  If one wanted to give a contemporary little collection of well-told tales, including fables, this would surely be a book to consider.


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2017 Aesop's Bedtime Rhymes: Moral Fun with Rhyme & Pun.  Brian E.A. "Dr. Beam" Maue.  Paperbound.  Scotts Valley, CA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.  $i7 from Amazon, August, '18.

This book helped me learn that "CreateSpace" is Amazon's publishing arm for independent publishers.  This book's front cover features a bed with a book resting on the pillow -- and Aesopic figures moving toward it.  There are eight fables on 108 pages, with simple black-and-white cartoon illustrations.  The back cover claims that this book combines the fables with a "variety of virtuous verse schemes and poetic puns."  Virtuous?  In LM, the mouse first offers King Lion the option of changing his behavior before the mouse will free him from his net.  "The Monkey and His Grip" is a version of "The Boy and the Filberts."  I find the rhymes and puns forced, but children hearing these tales may judge differently.  The last story, "The Caterpillars," pits "Try" against "Not" to dramatize two life styles. 

2017 Aesop's Fables.  Translation: Tper Tradurre Srl.  Illustrations: Manuela Adreani.  First printing.  Hardbound.  Milan, Italy: White Star Kids.  $13.90 from Amazon, Jan., '18.

In this large-format book, twenty fables are given two pages each after an introduction.  White Star did the book in Italian, also in 2017.  Might Adreani have been the author as well as the artist?  Only "Esopo" is listed on their website as the author of the Italian edition.  By the way, Adreani also did a La Fontaine in Italian for White Star, and I just ordered the English edition, which was published eight days ago!  Adreani paints with a broad brush.  A single scene is the background for each two-page spread, with text usually on just one of the pages.  She plays in delightful fashion with scale.  Thus in the first story, DLS, a fox a few inches high sits on the nose of the donkey and raises the snout of the lion-skin.  The cover illustration comes from "The Donkey and the Frogs," which is new to me.  A donkey gets stuck carrying wood through water and complains; frogs ask what he would do if he had been there for as long as the frogs have.  The book appears on Amazon with the curious illustration for "The Wolves and the Sheep."  In Adreani's illustration, the sheep -- who stupidly gave up their dog defenders -- are marching down on a hill that turns out to be the body of a wolf.  The Amazon cover turns this picture 90 degrees upright, so that the sheep climb up to the wolf's snout.  In a surprising change, it is a chough who tries to join the crows but is rejected both by them and then by his fellows.  Sometimes it is hard for me to understand the artist's logic, as when the quack frog rests on the back of the fox who sees through him.  The English is also a little off here as the fox asks "How is it possible for you to heal others when you can't even heal own limp?" (29).  Much more telling is the great illustration of the fox trapped in a tree by his own enlarged stomach (34-35).  My first prize goes to the illustration for FK, including the looming figure in the background (38-39).  This is creative work!

2017 Aesop's Fables, Complete and Unabridged.  Translated by V.S. Vernon Jones.  With illustrations by Arthur Rackham and others, hand-coloured by Barbara Frith.  Afterword by Anna South.  First printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  London: MacMillan Collector's Library:  MacMillan.  $12.61 from Amazon, May, '18.

This book is a reissue of a book published in 2014 by Collector's Library.  It includes 284 numbered fables and so is a "complete and unabridged" copy of what was first published by Heinemann and by Doubleday in 1912.  The hand-coloring is nicely done.  For examples, notice the court scene on 136 and "The Bald Man and the Fly" on 152.  Less well done are the illustrations already colored by Rackham.  The small format (4" x 6¼"), brown titles, and lovely illustrations make this a very nice edition.  The dust jacket has the smiling fox serving a very large platter to a stork on the front and, on the back, the fox emptying an amphora's last drop, with "Slow and steady wins the race" somewhat illogically above that illustration.

2017 Aesop's Fables: Fun Stories, Great Lessons!  Written and illustrated by Britton LaTulippe. Paperbound.  Columbia, SC: Blue Manor Education.  $12.95 from Amazon, Feb., '19.

Here is a square paperback 8½" on a side containing twenty fables, as the beginning T of C makes clear.  The front cover features a dramatic head-shot of an elephant with a blue eye, while the back cover features many animals and a few humans in cartoon form.  Most fables here are two or three pages long.  Texts generally receive one page, and each story receives a full-page colored illustration.  Perhaps most dramatic of these shows the elephant from the cover about to step on a rat who has been propounding that there is really no difference between the elephant and him (19).  The final illustration is also strong: a colorful kestrel woos a female eagle but holds only a tiny mouse in his claw.  The narratives are creative.  The turtle expands the length of the short race suggested by the hare.  The mouse loosens a cherry that falls on the lion's nose, just as the branch pokes him in the eye and the mouse lands on the lion's head.  The fox at first asks for a bite of the cheese.  The ram does not even notice the crow who is trying to lift him aloft.  Not a shepherd but a guard sheep gets bored and cries "Wolf!"  The grasshopper curls up in the snow and dies inches away from the ant's home, where the ant is feasting.  A cook who rescues the cat from the fire then beats her for stealing the chestnuts, while the monkey is curled up sleeping.  "The Vulture's Meal" (40) is new to me.  The vulture notices the limping giraffe and squawks "Injured giraffe."  A bear comes and a big fight ensues.  The bear prevails and kills the giraffe, though the bear has been seriously wounded.  "Injured bear!"  The lion comes and a big fight ensues.  The lion prevails but has been seriously wounded.  The vulture enjoys the giraffe for breakfast, the bear for lunch, and the lion for dinner.  Printed on demand in February, 2019.

2017 Aesop's Fables: Over 40 Stories to Share.  Catherine Allison, Anne Rooney, and Clare Sipi.  Various illustrators. Hardbound.  NY: Parragon.  $14.99 from Amazon, May, '18.

This is another strong, large fables book for children.  The illustrations are simple, good for children's literature.  Most fables have stated morals.  Continuing pages surprisingly repeat the title of the fable.  MSA (16) has a key line: "You're absolutely right!"  In this version, well told, there is no river.  The donkey just runs off when it falls off the pole.  TMCM (28) has a key line in both venues "It's nothing to be afraid of."  There is a good illustration of the fox bested by the stork, with his tongue out at the top of the vase (76-77).  Another good illustration shows the frogs pleading before Zeus (117).  WC has a surprising moral: "Sometimes being helpful is its own reward" (85).  This collection includes Gay's "The Hare Who Had Many Friends" (121).  The wolf in sheep's clothing gets away from the shepherd who discovers him (131).  TB is well illustrated (180).  There is a T of C at the beginning.

2017 Aesop's Favorite Fables: More Than 130 Classic Fables for Children!  Valdemar Paulsen (NA).  With Pictures by Milo Winter.  First edition, first printing.  Hardbound.  NY: Racehorse for Young Readers: Skyhorse Publishing.  $14.39 from treasurebookisland through eBay, April, '17.

Here is the latest in a long string of reprintings of Rand McNally's "The Aesop for Children," first printed in 1919.  What is different here?  First the title.  Secondly, the publisher.  There are further surprises here.  The book is, as far as I can tell, a literal reproduction of the original.  Why then say "More than 130 Classic Fables for Children!" when there are in fact 146, as in the original?  This edition still fails to credit Valdemar Paulsen, as copies of the book did from the beginning, though others who used portions of it acknowledged Paulsen.  A further surprise is that Bodemann seems to know nothing of this book, or of anything attributed to Milo Winter.  A final mystery with this particular copy is that I bought it on eBay, and the seller is listed as treasurebookisland.  Why then, did the book come with a Barnes and Noble invoice?  And why was the eBay price $14.39 when Barnes and Noble sells it for $11.44?  I wrote earlier that the versions of the fables here have a steady eye on correct children's behavior.  The stories' actions are carefully motivated, sometimes even over-motivated.  In fact, the stories have a tendency to overkill.  There are good statements from the characters, made to themselves when talk with others would be inappropriate.  There are some double morals.

2017 Arthur Golding's 'A Moral Fabletalk' and Other Renaissance Fable Translations.  Liza Blake and Kathriyn Vomero Santos.  Paperbound.  MHRA Tudor & Stuart Translations: Vol. 12:  Modern Humanities Research Association.  $27 from Amazon, May, '18.

Here is a very helpful volume of some 594 pages.  It contains Arthur Golding's "A Moral Fabletalk" entire and parts or all of four other significant Renaissance translations, starting with Caxton in 1480.  The last selections are from John Ogilby's two multiply-edited publications.  The other two are new to me: Richard Smith's translation of Henryson and John Brinsley's school publication.  Among the helps along the way, do not miss the "Table of Fables" on 54-60.  One of the greatest contributions of the book is to produce Golding's work so nicely.  One recognizes illustration after illustration that jump out as significant in the fable tradition.  Let me mention a few early illustrations:  FS (79); LM (85); and "The Donkey and the Little Dog" (123).  The same is true for Ogilby.  Old friends here are FM (426); LM (436); "The Dog and the Thief" (442); and BM (452).  The introductions, cross-references, and lists of emendations are all helpful.  I am sorry that it has taken me a year and a half to get back to this work!

2017 Classic Storybook Fables.  Illustrated by Scott Gustafson.  First printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  NY: Artisan: Workman Publishing.  $19.95 from an unknown source, August, '18.

Here is a large-format -- about 11" x 12 ¼" -- collection of eight stories.  The four fables include CP; "The Emperor's New Clothes"; BW, and BC.  Other stories include "The Ugly Duckling"; "Beauty and the Beast"; "The Little Red Hen"; and "The Boy Who Went to the North Wind."  After viewing plenty of computer art, I am pleased to view oil paintings.  CP gets one strong double-page (44-45).  One can see the water rising among the stones.  Gustafson makes the "Emperor" all the more striking by placing the story in a kingdom of dogs.  The naked emperor thus wears a medal and a long wig, while all of his fellow dogs are in sumptuous court clothing.  The Emperor tells himself that "the procession must go on," and "the chamberlains followed behind, carrying the hem of a robe that wasn't there" (54).  BW involves three different partial scenes on two pages, well arranged alongside text (56-57).  My prize goes to BC with its emphasis on the applauding audience of mice (71).  The text starts dramatically "The mice had had enough!"  "Beauty and the Beast" is on front cover and dust-jacket.  "The Emperor's New Clothes" is on the back cover and dust-jacket.

2017 Esti allatmesek.  Ildiko Boldizsar.  Illustrated by Csilla Koszeghy.  Hardbound.  Budapest: Mora: Konyvkiado.  3499 Forints in Budapest, August, '17.

This is a large-format (about 8½" x 11¾") book offering more folktales than fables, despite the lively illustration of FS on the cover and repeated on 17.  Others of the fifteen or so full-page illustrations may well be of fables.  On 8 a fox looks up at a rooster on a tree branch.  That could well be UP.  On 26 a fox sits on a frozen lake with his tale frozen into the icy water behind him.  On 81, a clever rabbit runs across the backs of crocodiles lined up like a bridge of stones to hop over.  The stories here come from a broad range of cultures: Thailand, Africa, Burma, Slovakia, Japan, Ethiopia, and others.  Check the FS image again.  Can a wing and vase ever look that way?  Which is in front of which?

2017 Fables for Leaders.  John Lubans.  Illustrated by Béatrice Coron.  Paperbound.  Salem, OR: Ezis Press.  $26.99 from Amazon, Oct., '17. 

I enjoy this book and even find John Luibans something of a kindred spirit.,  The heart of the book, I would say, is a collection of traditional Aesopic fables.  To these Luibans adds a number of things.  First of all there are what I would call ruminations, reflecting well on how the fable applies to life.  Then there are fables from others, including especially himself.  My hat is off to anyone who, after the thousands of fables that have been created in our literary tradition, makes a new one.  I do note that Lubans' fables seem longer than the traditional Aesop fables he uses.  To these texts are added simple, pleasing silhouettes,like the dramatic gesture outlined on the cover.  The book also makes room for personal notes from readers.  It all adds up for me to a valuable book.  The fables are grouped by themes under seven chapters, with two to eight themes per chapter.  Bravo, John Lubans!

2017 Fables You Shouldn't Pay Any Attention To.  Florence Parry Heide and Sylvia Worth Van Clief.  Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier.  First Atheneium printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  NY: Atheneium.  $16.99 from an unknown source, August, '17.

Here is a new version of a book already in the collection, but from a new publisher and with a more engaging visual artist.  Two stories have been added since the 1991 edition in the collection: "Phoebe" and "Sally."  Phoebe is a bee who smells the flowers all summer instead of making honey.  But then a bear comes and steals the honey.  Phoebe is happy that she smells the flowers!  Sally is a slow raindrop who ends up because of her slowness not in a big mud puddle but in a lovely rainbow.  The characters in most stories here are identified as specific animals.  Genevieve in the first story seems to be a human in the text but is well pictured as a cat.  That shift takes something of the sting out of praising her carelessness.  Caleb and Conrad in the last story are also humans, but the illustrations of them move towards ducks or chicks, I think.  The book was apparently first published in 1978 by Lippincott.  There are now nine enjoyable stories.  Good fun!

2017 Grandes fábulas de La Fontaine para los más pequeños.  Translated by Sara Cano Fernández.  Illustrated by various artists..  Hardbound.  Barcelona:  Beascoa: Penguin Random House Grupo Edtorial.  $15.09 from Bargain Book Stores, Grand Rapids, Sept., '17.

Apparently originally published as "Fàbulas de la Fontaine: livro de histórias" by Zero a Oito in Portugal in 2014.  This 10" square book contains six stories, each about twelve pages in length.  Each story is illustrated by a different artist.  FS, GA, TMCM, GGE, WL, and "The Angler and the Little Fish."  Each story has an identical final two page element: a page with a sign "Moraleja del Cuento" and a page of perhaps 12 to 15 lines of reflection on the story.  The stories are indeed well fashioned for children.  The artistry is simple in each case but decidedly varied from story to story.  GA is told in the non-La Fontaine fashion, and TMCM is tilted toward the superiority of country life.  Both characters in FS are female.  Among the most curious illustrations is the view inside the dead hen that had produced golden eggs (45)!  The first finish to WL seems to say something like "In this story, evil wins in the end.  Protect the innocent always if you want to triumph."  The more official moral advises getting away from such types and avoiding the harm that they can do to us.  The little fish begging to be thrown back has musical notes coming out its mouth.  The final two pages here are shortened to one.

2017 The Fables of Ivan Krylov.  Translated by Stephen Pimenoff.  Paperbound.  Sawtry, Cambs, UK: Dedalus European Classics.  $11.14 from Amazon, June, '18.

Pimenoff writes a strong introduction, in which he reveals his hope that this translation will make English readers better aware of Krylov's greatness, equal in his mind to that of Aesop and La Fontaine.  After some helpful historical background, that introduction gives a good sense of Krylov's wit and of Pimenoff's translating hopes.  He rejects both prose and rhyme and chooses free verse.  To get a sense of the translations, I read the first ten fables of Book IV.  I find them utterly intelligible and regularly delightful, whether they are the better known "The Quartet" and "The Swan, the Pike and the Crayfish" or others new to me, like "The Pond and the River" and "The Mechanic."  I want to make more use of this helpful translation!  It includes all the fables or all nine books, plus six extras.

2017 Town Mouse, Country Mouse.  Libby Walden.  Illustrated by Richard Jones.  First printing.  Hardbound.  London: Little Tiger Group: Caterpillar Books.  $11.04 from Superbookdeals through Amazon, Jan., '18. 

The back cover rightly describes this as a "rhyming peep-through picture book."  The front cover indicates several of its charms when it presents the two mice through cutouts of the thick cover material and when it supplies a series of small snapshots selected from scenes in the book.  The basic story here is of a swap that brings each mouse back to enjoy his or her home.  Cutouts in the pages present a nice contrast, as when City Mouse has a picture of country mouse in her wall in front of the motorcar wallpaper like the front endpapers.  She writes, by the way, on an ace of spades desk surface.  Turn the page and we find on the wall of the Country Mouse a framed picture "Town Life," which of course looks through the same cutout hole to the previous scene's view of the town.  Storyteller and artist both linger nicely on the details of packing up, watering plants, and saying good-bye to friends.  Once they have traded places, noise in the town wakes up Country Mouse, who has to be stopped by a spider from blundering into a mouse trap.  Town Mouse has to be warned by a bird not to eat some berries that would make her sick.  Life gets worse for both when they go outside.  The series of city scenes across the top of these pages is particularly well done.  Now back at home, Town Mouse knows it's the place for her and sends a paper airplane out to her country cousin, who reflects that home is where the heart is.  The book ends with flowered endpapers, as it began with citylike automobile images.  This is a clever and engaging children's book.

2017 25 Fables: Aesop's Animals Illustrated.  Curated by Bronwyn Minton.  Various artists.  Hardbound.  Jackson Hole, WY: National Museum of Wildlife Art.  Gift of the National Museum of Wildlife Art through Debbie Ross-Vassar, Manager of Retail Operatiions, August, '18.

Pauli Ruotolo tipped me off to the exhibit and book.  I wrote to the museum and asked if copies of this catalogue were still available.  They graciously scared one up and sent it to me.  Bronwyn Minton is the Associate Curator of Art and Research at the museum.  Twenty-five artists each contribute an illustration – in a variety of media and styles.  The very first, TMCM by Rachel Kunkle Hartz (4), is among the most dramatic, contrasting country and city.  Also arresting is the ink drawing of DW by Haley Badenhop (12).  Half of the single animal's face is the dog chained to his doghouse.  The other half is wildly psychedelic!  Again, Ben Carlson's ink drawing of "The Wolf and His Shadow" (28) is wonderfully suggestive.  David Klarén's FG on 38 startles a viewer into thinking twice.  Greg Houda's WC puts great expressions on both animal's faces (44)!  I have not been able to figure out whether artists were given established texts (whose?) or invited to prepare their own.  What a lovely project and what a lovely gift!



2018 Aesop's Fables.  Rev. George Fyler Townsend.  Illustrated by Harrison Weir.  Preface and Introduction by Susie Moore.  Paperbound.  Oxford, UK: Aesop Classics.  $9.99 from Amazon, May, '18.

Here is a nice reproduction of G.F. Townsend's "Three Hundred Aesop's Fables" of 1880, published then by George Routledge and Sons and including, now as then, fifty of Harrison Weir's illustrations.  This reproduction is good enough to reproduce the title-page from that edition, with the addition of the present-day names and places.  The Weir illustrations are better defined here than in many of the early publications by various publishers.  There is a T of C at the end and a list of illustrations between the life of Aesop and the first fable.  I believe that the T of C has changed the typeface of the page numbers; I wonder what mystery lies behind that choice.  Have some stories or pages been dropped?  This book has made me aware for the first time that there is an editing group named "aesopbooks.com."  This volume belongs to their "Aesop Classics," along with Shakespeare and Canterbury Tales.  Though this seems to be the only "Aesop" book that they publish, it is heartening to find a publishing group named after the ancient fabulist!

2018 Aesop's Fables in English & Latin, Interlineary, for the Benefit of those who not having a Master, Would Learn Either of these Tongues.  (John Locke).  Hardbound.  Eighteenth Century Collections Online: Literature and Language:  A.Bettesworth/Creative Media Partners: Gale: Cengage.  See 1723/2018.

2018 Aesop's Fables: The Classic Edition.  Charles Santore.  First edition, first printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  NY: Applesauce: Cider Mill Press.  Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, Dec., '18.

This impressive large (10" x 12¾") book has a significant history.  Jellybean Press did Santore's original version, printed in Italy, in 1988.  It was about ⅜" larger each way than this book.  It had FG on its front cover and dust-jacket.  And it had no morals attached to its text.  It had a five-page foreword by Patricia Barrett Perkins.  Santore's work then was the background for some of the illustrations in Merrill Lynch's opulent advertising campaign launched during the '92 winter Olympic games.  Then in 2010 Kohl's Cares reprinted the book and sold it for $5 in an edition printed by Sterling Press in China.  That edition added morals and substituted a foreword by Santore for the earlier foreword.  A selection from the large final foldout wrapped around from back cover through the front, with the same repeated on the dust-jacket.  Now this present edition returns to the larger format of the original edition but includes the added features from 2010, including cover art, foreword, and morals.  As I wrote about the first edition, the art is big, witty, and strong.  In the triple foldout -- here labeled as a "stunning gatefold" on the dust-jacket -- the animals from all the fables reappear at the end of the TH race.  Also excellent is the illustration for "The Monkey as King" (29).

2018 Fables.  Matthew Stringer.  Paperbound.  Surrey, UK: Grosvenor House.  $14.50 from Amazon, Feb., '19.

False alarm!  As the back cover of the book says, "In this collection of loosely linked short stories, centuries-old conspiracies, hoaxes and confessions are uncovered, historiography is censored at its birth, and boundaries of form and style are broken to intrigue the reader with philosophical diversions and alternative readings of the past."  Amazon lists it as a "fantasy anthology."  I did not get into the book.

2018 Fables Gravées Par Sadeler, Avec Un Discours Préliminaire Et Les Sens Moraux En Distiques.  Aesop.  Paperbound.  Hachette Livre.  See 1743/2018.

2018 French Fables in Action.  Violet Partington.  Paperbound.  Ithaca, NY: Yesterday's Classics.  $8.25 from Amazon, Nov. 11, '18.

This book was first published in 1918 by E.P. Dutton.  Yesterday's Classics "is the publishing arm of the Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project."  The heart of this print-on-demand volume is 57 pages of French text offering ten of La Fontaine's fables as theatrical pieces, with several scenes and characters in each fable.  Thus in the first presentation, TT, the talkative tortoise speaks first of boring days in her "vieux trou."  The two ducks, Quoique and Pourquoi, stop by on their way to America and soon enough, after the tortoise complains about being stuck in her little garden, offer to take her along.  In a second scene, the three prepare.  Towards the end of the scene, the two ducks take off with Madame Tortue after a short conversation with a peasant couple.  The peasant seeing Madame Tortue aloft, says she is the queen of turtles.  "La reine!  Oui, en effet je la suis" answers the turtle and falls to her apparent death.  The two ducks speak La Fontaine's four-verse moral.  Other stories included are DW; "The Lark and Her Children"; GA, "The Old Man and the Three Youths"; MM; UP; "The Laborer and His Children"; TB; and TMCM.

2018 Jean de La Fontaine: 25 Fables: Bilingual illustrated edition.  A new translation by Christopher Carsten.  Tangrams by Edith de Tarragon.  Preface by Sir Michael Edwards.  Paperbound.  Paris: Librairie Editions Tituli.  Review copy from Seventeenth-Century News, Oct., '18.

Consult the 2015 version of this book by the same parties, except the visual artist for my comments.  My review takes as its keynote Michael Edwards' preface: "He praises its 'unexpected rhymes,' 'snappy turns of phrase in familiar speech,' and occasional updates.  He finds the translations 'lively and full of pep' (7-8).  I concur with these judgments."  About the illustrations I write this: "The present colored tangrams are a clear upgrade.  The art ranges from the simpler 'Crow and Fox' to the more complex and suggestive 'Farmer, Dog, and Fox.'  As with La Fontaine's texts, there is here in the tangram images always something more to enjoy.  A personal favorite is 'Frog and Ox,' in which the frog, framed in a colorful stained glass arrangement, expands and explodes into tangram pieces (27).  Unfortunately, three of the 25 fables here are not illustrated."  I appreciate Joe Johnson's asking me to review this lively book!

2018 Lions and Lobsters and Foxes and Frogs.  Ennis Rees.  Drawings by Edward Gorey.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  Mineola, NY: Dover.  $14.95 from Renaissance Books, Milwaukee Airport, June, '18.

I am delighted to see this classic fable book beautifully reprinted by Dover.  As I wrote on the original 1971 version, "There is always something to laugh over here."  Rees' tellings come from his 1966 version.  Do not miss "The Impatient Fox."  The last landing of the exploding frog is another classic!

2018 The Boy Who Cried Vampire.  Benjamin Harper.  Illustrated by Alex Lopez.  Paperbound.  North Mankato, MN: Far Out Fables:  Capstone: Stone Arch Books.  $6.69 from Wordery, through Ebay, Dec., '18.

The back cover declares "Classic fables get twisted about and turned inside out in this series of full-color comic books for kids!"  The vampire in this rendition is "Grigore the Dreaded."  The boy Ion likes to play pranks and make up wild stories – or otherwise, to watch scary movies.  Ion cries out to the people of the village that "Grigore the Vampire is after me!"  When people show up, Ion tells them that it was a drill.  His parents ground Ion for a month.  Ion tries a wounding story including ketchup.  "Ion, you are beyond lame.  I mean, ketchup?"  Ion is grounded by his parents "until he is 35"!  Grigore then actually appears and comes after Ion.  Grigore then reveals to Ion that he drinks only "totally organic beet juice."  He does not want blood; he wants to hang out.  This story ends rather open-ended.  Is Grigore what he says he is?

2018 The Fables of La Fontaine.  Tper Tradurre Srl.  Illustrated by Manuela Adreani.  First edition, first printing.  Hardbound.  Milan, Italy: White Star Kids.  $16.4 from Wordery through Amazon, Dec., '18. 

In this large-format book, twenty fables are given two pages each after an introduction.  Adreani did an Aesop book a year earlier in the same format for White Star.  There is a T of C at the beginning.  I am disturbed by the typo "including" in the introduction (7).  The translator offers generally rhyming couplets, with closing quatrains.  I believe that the translations struggle.  La Fontaine's beginning of TH is "Rien ne sert de courir.  Il faut partir à point."  The translation here has "If you don't arrive in time, what good is there in running?"  The main clause is fine, but "arrive" is a confusing translation for "partir."  Similarly I am confused when I read "The monkey could not remember a similar scandal / it had never been seen, or so it is said / that to solve the matter of the vandal, / the monkey four shirts of sweat did shed" (17).  FG has for a moral the intriguing aphorism "What I cannot have, I will gladly give you for a steal" (9).  For me, the visual artistry here is far stronger than the text.  Good illustrations include WL (10-11), where the lamb drinks under the long shadow of the snarling wolf.  As we view the would-be lion hunter who has scrambled up a tree, we see only the tip of the lion's tail (12-13).  FS plays with geometric angles as the stork looks down on a flat dish while the fox lies looking into – and sniffing? – a vase on its side (20-21).   FC features excellent facial expressions as the fox walks off proudly with the cheese in its mouth and the crow looks askance, ready to fly away (38-39).  The cover illustration comes from OF: the ox holds the frog-become-balloon by a string.  This good text has the frog conversing only with the ox, who cautions her.  The frog "burst, and away it flew" (22). 

2018 The Most Beautiful Fables of Aesop, Phaedrus and La Fontaine.  Translator: Daniiela Innocenti.  Illustrations by Marisa Vestita.  First edition, first printing.  Hardbound.  Milan, Italy: White Star Kids.  $17.46 from Alibris through Ebay, May, '18.

This heavy, large-format book offers twelve fables from each of its three fabulists, each fable two to eight pages long.  The artist works hard to integrate text with illustration.  "The Lion and the Mosquito" presents a good example on 12-13: statements are arranged like radii around a center, and the radii are the lion's mane.  The statement of the lion's scratching himself comes among three lines like tines of a fork.  In this telling of the fable, the lion actually brushes away the cobweb for his little conqueror!  The shepherd boy in BW laughs in the face of the villagers: "It was only a prank…and you fell for it!" (32).  FG (42) may be the shortest fable here: one picture and six lines.  My prize goes to the illustrations for "The Fox with the Swollen Belly" (50).  Also good is the expression on the face of the rejected grasshopper on 61.  The Phaedrus section starts off strong with "The Lion King," which might better be titled "Monkey Stew" 84.  The selection of Phaedrus fables here underscores what many have talked about: they underscore the hard life of the underdog.  The La Fontaine selections are in poetic form, with rhyme.  The book finishes with the best tailless fox that I have seen!

2018 Who Will Bell the Cat?  Patricia McKissack.  Illustrated by Christopher Cyr.  First edition, first printing.  Hardbound.  Dust jacket.  NY: Holiday House.  $17.95 from Amazon, Oct., '17.

This is a lively, scary, creative retelling of the fable in an  oversized landscape book for young children.  Here is a helpful review from "School Library Journal":  "A group of mice save a freezing feline, warming the orange cat on a bed of straw and sharing their food. When Marmalade regains her strength, however, she immediately does what cats are known for: terrorizing mice. Smart Mouse gets an idea when she finds an old sleigh bell; the bell will make an alarm! Together the mice create a collar for Marmalade to alert them when she nears. But who could possibly put the bell on the cat? Certainly not the mice; not even the local (and vicious) rats. But when four giants (a human family) arrive at the farm, the smallest one takes an interest in Marmalade and gently places the collar around the cat's neck. This way, the girl will always know her cat friend's whereabouts. Dramatic use of dark and light presents a threatening Marmalade and the large-eyed colony of mild-mannered mice from various perspectives. Soft lines of the digitally created illustrations do little to mitigate the harsh appearance of the devilish cat which softens considerably when seen from a distance with the young girl. McKissack's retelling of this fable from India ends with a different but satisfying twist."

2018? Fables.  Juan J. Montenegro.  Paperbound. conejonegroblakrabit.com.  $29.98 from greatbookprices2 on Ebay.  Nov.,' 18. 

Here is a printed-upon-demand 8.5" square paperback using 50 traditional Aesopic fables in simple typeface on left-hand pages with artistry of highly varied sorts on the right-hand pages.  The texts are thus quite standard.  Whoever created the texts did not realize that "ye" is the plural of you; in "The Astronomer" (6) a neighbor addresses the fallen astronomer "Hark ye, old fellow."  Similarly, one can ask whether "freedom of fear" on 48 should be "freedom from fear."  The artistry starts its appeal with the book's cover, which combines many of the book's illustrations in a colored collage offering mirrored images left and right and, partially, up and down.  Each of the images here appears somewhere in the book.  The mark of the images here is their wide range of styles.  AD on 5 effectively uses repeated colorful forms around the two main characters.  "The Boy and the Filberts" (15) plunges the reader into the jar of nuts.  BW follows immediately with a violent look down the wolf's throat, rendered in Roy Lichtenstein style.  FS on 39 cleverly positions each character with his offered implement, all four rendered quite abstractly.  "The Lion, the Fox & the Ass" (53) is well illustrated with two resolutions of colored geometric patterns.  SW on 63 receives one of the simplest and most dramatic illustrations.  "The Two Bags" (95) seems at first one of the most literal illustrations, until one notices its homage to Magritte.  I enjoy this kind of creativity!  I only wish it could have found a more permanent and typographically pleasing presentation from a mainline publisher.



2019 Aesop's Fables.  Susie Brooks & Amanda Enright.  First edition, first printing.  Hardbound.  Brighton, GB: Scribblers: Salariya.  $21.56 from Amazon, Nov., '18.

This large (9¼" x 12") book released before its publication date offers seven fables on 148 pages: TH, TMCM, OF, FG, GA, LM, and FC.  American readers will notice its British vocabulary, like "slowcoach" and "press-up."  I recommend it especially for two features.  First, its expansive stories feature good, lavishly detailed contemporary storytelling.  For example, tortoise unwraps his birthday presents so slowly that it is nearly his next birthday by the time he is finished.  Engaging details help story after story.  The exploding frog in OF is father to 108 froglets, one of whom encounters the friendly "monster" away from their home pond.  Thus each of the main characters is introduced early with a pronounced human proclivity.  Town Mouse is persnickety about his appearance and surroundings.  The fox in FG is "very good at getting his own way."  The adventuresome mouse in LM has tested the lion sleeping soundly and decides to slide down his nose and swing in his mane.  Secondly, several morals are particularly apt.  For FG: "It is easy to hate what you can't have."  For GA: "A bit of hard work now will pay off later."  For FC: "Being too proud can make you look foolish."  The art is large and as playful as the text.