2020 to 2024


2020 Aesop's Fables.  Texts from V.S. Vernon Jones and others.  Illustrations by Agnes Miller Parker.  Introductory essay by Samuel Fanous.  Hardbound.  Oxford, England: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.  $50 from Barnes and Noble, Feb., '21.

This beautiful book is a re-presentation of the outstanding  work of Agnes Miller Parker for the Gregynog Press in 1931.  Her 37 wood engravings are here presented beautifully.  Among those that I found particularly arresting on this reading are FK (59); "Androcles and the Lion" (81); "The Young Man and the Harlot" (93); "The Horse and the Stag" (123); and OR (139).  The opening essay by Samuel Fanous on the character, history, and illustration of fables is accurate and wide-reaching.  It is only a shame that he calls the Jesuits "monks" who brought fables to Japan in the sixteenth century.  Fanous also explains well the -- to us -- surprising choice of Caxton's translations for Parker's wood engravings.  This copy offers those rather of V.S. Vernon Jones and, where Jones does not have a fable illustrated by Parker, of others.  The text version chosen for "I am king of the beasts" on 29 with its hunting party of two does not correspond with the image and its party of four.  Several fables appear here in a form that seems different from the traditional texts or else combines two traditional texts, like "The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox" (156) and "The Wolf and the Hungry Dog" (`168).  There is an AI at the end.

2020 Aesop's Fables.  Illustrated by Don Daily.  First printing.  Hardbound.  NY: Running Press Kids: Perseus: Hachette.  Gift of Maureen Hester, Dec., '21.

Our collection already has Daily's work from 1995 (Brer Rabbit) and 1999 (Aesop), and it is strong work!  Here he is back with a board book almost 9" square.  Ten fables are presented here.  Among them only TMCM gets two illustrations.  All the other traditional favorites here get a full-page illustration apiece.  Though in a different format here, the illustrations are those that Daily copyrighted in 1999.  GGE graces the front cover and FG the back cover.

2020 Aesop's Fables for Children.  Valdemar Paulsen (NA).  Pictures by Milo Winter.  Paperbound.  Mineola, NY: Dover Pictorial Archive Series: Dover Publications.  $14.99 from Amazon, Oct., '20.

We have this book in many forms, including some from Dover.  What is new about this edition is the link to an mp3 download of some 43 fables.  Otherwise Dover acknowledges it as a reprint of its 2008 edition, also in our collection.  Though mention of this as "Green Edition" seems to have disappeared, the book still belongs to the "Dover Pictorial Archive Series."  Its Amazon price is up to $14.99.  With the advent of the mp3 link, the attached CD has disappeared.  So this is another fine reprint of the classic "The Aesop for Children" published in 1919 by Rand McNally.  It does a fine job of reproducing the exquisite Milo Winter illustrations.  It reproduces the 112 pages of the original faithfully.  All the illustrations are colored.  As I mention in commenting on the original version, these stories 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.  I picked up this copy for the collection when I found out that all five duplicates in the collection have been lent out to people!

2020 Aesop's Fables for Little Children.  Retold by Susanna Davidson.  Illustrated by John Joven.  Hardbound.  London: Usborne.  $18.97 from Thinktonight through Amazon, July, ‘21.  

Might this be our first book printed in the UAE?  As the beginning T of C shows, there are six stories here: TH; LM; FC; GA; FS; and TMCM.  Stories are told and illustrated expansively here.  TH takes 26 pages!  Joven uses a stylized, colorful approach to the cartoon illustrations.  Morals are given on each title-page.  Davidson takes a fresh approach to each fable and finds pleasant alternatives to traditional phases.  The little mouse gets lost on the way home and climbs a hill to get a better view.  The mouse's frightened squeak wakes the lion up.  Even her mice friends laugh at her promise to save the lion back.  At the end of FC, crow goes off and finds a mouse with a piece of cheese and tells how much he would love to hear the mouse talk….  GA's moral is "Prepare for winter before it comes."  The ant finds the freezing grasshopper and brings him into her home.  He promises to work next summer, and she offers to sing!  FS features balancing pairs of pages showing the frustrated efforts of first guest stork and then guest fox to eat what is offered.  At the end, fox arrives with a gift to invite stork to his house for lunch.  Town Mouse plays with his band, "Town Mouse and the Rat-a-tat-tats."  He arrives in the country to step in a cow splat and then to come face to face with a cow.  Not an interrupted feast but loud music, nighttime traffic noise, and after-effects of blue cheese convince the Country Mouse to head home.  "We're each better in our own homes," he says as he departs.

2020 Aesop's Fables Here and Now: A Book for All Ages.  Aeverett Anderson.  Paperbound.  Ashland, OR: Presentation Dynamics.  $17.05 from Greatbookprices on Ebay, Oct., '21.

This curious paperback book begins with cover portraits of the author's father and mother because they "along with a host of teachers, mentors, role models, and friends are Aeverett's Aesop" (3).  The book contains over thirty chapters offering life's lessons as Anderson has gleaned them.  He had proposed a title "Aeverett's Rules of Order," but his publisher urged him to the present title to sell the book better.  He makes his name Everett here into Aeverett out of respect for Aesop even though he recognizes that Aesop may never have existed.  He asks poignantly whether history might decide that he, Everett, also never existed!  He means to entertain an audience including teenagers while challenging them.  Towards the end of that first chapter, the author confesses "many of the things I knew to be true when I was 16, 26, and 43 just weren't so.  We never stop learning."  I have not explored much further into the book's wisdom but I appreciate its tone!  Aesop, I think, would be encouraged!

2020 Aesop's Fables: The Cruelty of the Gods.  Carlo Gébler.  Illustrations by Gavin Weston.  Apparent first printing.  Paperbound.  London: Head of Zeus, Ltd.  $5.96 from Amazon, June, '20.

This is the paperbound version of the hardbound book first printed in 2019.  As I wrote there, here is a serious new entry in the library of translations of Aesop's fables.  The 190 fables offered here are rewritten, based on Chambry's 1927 edition and the Penguin translation by Olivia and Robert Temple in 1998.  Not all who work with fables these days would applaud those decisions.  Some would have thought rather of Perry and Gibbs, respectively.  Let me offer a word about the book's divisions, its overall viewpoint, the individual texts, and the illustrations.  The ten divisions make sense and help the book to take shape as more than an endless round of stories.  Because they characterize the book well, I recount them here: "1. Caprice, Arrogance and the Exercise of Arbitrary Power"; "2. Irreconcilability, Conflict and Vengeance"; "3. Self-Deception, Stupidity and Idiocy"; "4. Ambition, Overweening and Overreach"; "5. Selfishness, Self-Interest and Self-Love"; "6. Gloating and Heartlessness"; "7. Jealousy, Covetousness and Greed"; "8. Cunning, Guile and Insight"; "9. Bitter Words, Rebukes, Barbs and Savageries"; and "10. Last Griefs or a Series of Epilogues."  Those titles indicate well, I think, the tone of the book's approach to the fables.  "Broadly speaking, Aesop has two subjects – the exercise of power and the experience of the powerless who endure life and all that it inflicts on them.  In his fables, the gods and goddesses who exercise power tend to be capricious, willful, thoughtless and unforgiving, while the powerless, the mortals (many of whom are animals) who endure life and all that it inflicts on them tend to be blind, deluded, foolish, and careless.  The discrepancy between the powerful and the powerless is a source of humour but it is also the basis of Aesop's critique.  The human world, as Aesop has it, is a place of rough, justice, deep hurt, epic cruelty and unstinting monstrousness" (7-8).  This view, it seems to me, works for a good number of fables, and its "critique" comes clear here in the way individual stories are shaped.  I see two things in the overall picture a little differently.  I find the gods rather unimportant in Aesop's view.  Greeks since Homer knew that they are capricious and immoral.  I think Aesop's eye is on the ironies of life, not on its divine background or causality.  The book's subtitle here may be distracting.  And I think there is more fun here than Gébler's viewpoint might allow.  Is it not part of the Aesopic experience to be teased into laughing at ourselves?  The individual versions, as I say, are well rewritten, expanded to express strong viewpoints, sharpened contrasts and bitter ironies.  The illustrations have the same bite.  Two good examples might be "The Champion Hen and the Widow" (247) and "The Dolphin and the Monkey" (267).  The detail of the frogs' king in action is a great choice for the front cover!  At the book's end, there are lists of correlations with Chambry and the book's 42 illustrations.

2020 Aesops Tier-Fabeln.  Nacherzählt von Elli Woollard.  Illustriert von Marta Altés.  Hardbound.  Munich: Ars Edition.  $24.99 from Amazon, 4/22.

Here is a German 2020 copy of an English 2019 from MacMillan, as acknowledged on the colophon page.  I will repeat here the strong words of praise I wrote then.  This delightful book takes several engaging ways of making the fables lively.  One is the use of rhyme throughout.  Others grow out of individual fables, like making the traveler who actually has contact with the bear in TB female (8).  In several stories, we have to turn the last page to get a surprise finish.  In TH, the tortoise falls into a river along the way, and the race extends into the night and early morning hours.  Perhaps the best of the engaging illustrations is on 29: the chagrined losing rabbit faces the other animals.  The ending of BW indicates that the wolf is now wearing boy's shoes.  The telling of this story was already different in that only one person was expected to rally to the boy's alarm, the shepherd himself who employed him to watch in the night.  Do not miss the good illustration of cowering animals in DLS on 43.  TMCM (77) is a tour-de-force of the book's best qualities, including a dramatic introduction of the cat.  This book has fun with the fables!

2020 Animalia Humorosum: Aesop's animal fables made more believable with a modern twist.  Ólafia L. Óla (V. Subhash).  Paperbound.  Roseburg, OR: V. Subhash.  $13.31 from Prepbooks through Ebay, April, ‘21.  

There is much that is unusual about this 8½” square booklet of 28 pages followed by two pages of advertisements for other books by Óla.  For starters, the pages are purple with light-colored typeface and cutout colored characters in partial-page illustrations.  The T of C uses superscript to indicate page numbers for the twelve fables.  That same page clarifies that Ólafia L. Óla is a pseudonym for V. Subhash.  In TH, the hare, not the tortoise, challenges to a race upon no provocation.  The author turns this tale into the more usual “Rabbit Races the Hedgehog,” famous among Grimm’s fairytales.  Every one of the species looks the same to the superficial hare.  In LM, after the mouse frees the lion, the hungry lion eats the mouse.  “Steer clear of known dangers.”  DW is told just as in the tradition.  “Better die on your feet than live on your knees.”  In TB, the second traveler takes off his socks; the smell of them revolts the bear, who departs.  What did the bear whisper to him?  “Tell that fellow that trees offer no safety because bears are good climbers.”  The ox makes up a snake friend to worry the dog out of his manger.  A passing hunter saves the shepherd boy attacked by a real wolf.  The mice do manage to get a bell around the cat’s neck by having it ready around their hole when the cat pokes in its head.  Two foxes jump for grapes.  One reacts according to the tradition.  The other says the effort has been stupid.  “We are foxes.  We don’t eat grapes.  Let’s go and catch some rabbits.”  One of two crows suggests the traditional pebble approach.  The other says that will take too much time and too many pebbles and will dirty the water.  He manages to knock over the pitcher and they can drink both from the water spilled and the water still in the overturned pitcher.  The owner of the golden goose eventually stops reading his mail, misses paying taxes, loses his property, and has to give up the goose as compensation for the unpaid taxes.  The wolf escapes the lambskin and never comes back.  The crow removes the doughnut from his mouth and tells the fox to move along.

2020 Baby's First Aesop's Fables.  Ashley Lee.  First edition, first printing.  Paperbound.  Vancouver: A Newborn Black & White Book:  Engage Books.  $9.47 from Bargain Book Stores through Ebay, March, ‘21.  

Here is a booklet of 46 pages offering 21 fables, each with a pair of simple silhouette black-and-white illustrations.  Only the last fable, SW, gets three pages instead of two.  Many of these illustrations are featured in small form on the back cover.  For some reason, the verso of the title-page speaks of 22 fables.  That page more than once also speaks of verses, but these fables are told in prose.  It also seems to speak of them in terms of nursery rhymes.  The book attempts to accommodate fables to the very young, as the back cover explains.  The best design, in my opinion, is the mouse on 33, the front cover, and the title-page.  For some reason, the early T of C skips "The Dog and the Oyster" (24).

2020 Basni Krilova.  Illustrated by Kristina Vetoshkina.  Hardbound.  Rostov on Don:  Phoenix LLC.  $15.95 from internationaltoys.com through Ebay, May, '22.

Here are eleven fables with large Russian print and lively illustrations.  A good example of a telling illustration comes on 37 for the end of the trapped wolf: his skin hangs from a peg.  The cover is particularly attractive.  Among many fable characters here, the attention tends to focus on the cook who is reading to the animals.  Well known fables are here, including "Quartet"; "The Monkey and the Spectacles"; and "Swan, Lobster, and Pike."  T of C at the end.  48 pages.  6½" x 9¼".  Copyright 2019, though the book states clearly that it was published in 2020.

2020 Belling the Cat.  Second printing.  Pamphlet.  Uttar Pradesh: Aesop's Fables: OmKidz.  $6.21 from Amazon, Nov., '23.

I automatically thought that this large pamphlet belonged to a series done by Om Kidz.  That series is titled "Fabulous Fables."  This belongs rather to "Aesop's Fables," and is slightly narrower.  It does not admit who is its author or its artist.  First printed in 2016, this is a second printing in 2020.  The visual artist here dresses all the mice -- and the cat -- in human clothes.  A bespectacled bearded mouse leads the mice-meeting as its speaker.  This version does not raise the question: Is the suggestion impossible to fulfill or has no mouse the courage to try it?  The question "Who will bell the cat?" leads to confusion and then the cat enters the meeting.  All the mice scatter.  The old mouse who raised the question comments "Easier said than done!"

2020 Echoes of Aesop: A Decodable Retelling of Aesop’s Fables, Volume 1.  Ellen Nicholas.  Pamphlet.  Coppell, TX: Nicholas Learning.  $4.99 from Amazon, April, '22.

There are 18 fables in this pamphlet with the curious subtitle including "Decodable," as the T of C on ii-iii shows.  The introduction on v helps the reader to understand that reference to decoding.  The author has been tutor, has launched an online reading program, and now is turning to publishing in keeping with her approach to learning reading.  That approach uses the Barton Reading and Spelling System and works further with Orton-Gillingham based methods.  The last line of her introduction shows the problem of asking a word processing program to yield even margins: five words are socially distanced from each other across the line.  OF makes for a good first story.  One little frog is sat upon but not killed by the cow, and the mother blows herself up so much that she has to lie down.  "We should remember there is a difference between the difficult and the impossible."  There is an unfortunate reference to the mother frog "laying" on her lily pad.  BC is well told by employing a "Boss Mouse" to call the meeting.  At the book's end there are a page "About the Words," a page of "Additional Words" (apparently words that do not fit the mentioned systems) and a long list (46-56) of "Words Used with Frequency."  Not illustrated.  6" x 9".

2020 Ezop Masallari.  Fatma Burcu Uzunoglu.  Third edition.  Paperbound.  Ankara: Fark Yayinlari.  $10 from The Glad Trading through Ebay, Oct., '21.

Here is one of some 38 inexpensive Turkish editions of Aesop bought together.  This paperback gets my prize for the best illustrations.  These black-and-white illustrations, part-page and full-page, include TB, perhaps the best (23); "Stag at the Pool" (43); TMCM (71); "Two Frogs" (89); "Pawprints Going In" (105).  Otherwise there is nothing here but texts from 5 to 135.  First published in 2016.  The colored cover shows a lion sitting in a tree, surrounded by various animals.

2020 Fabelbruk I svensk tidigmodernitet: en genrehistorisk studie.  Erik Zillén.  Hardbound.  Goteborg and Stockholm: Makadam Förlag.  Gift of Erik Zillén., Dec., '20.

"Usage of Fable in Swedish Early Modernity: A Genre History."  Erik was good enough to send me this copy from his Lunds University.  What a mammoth and serious scholarly work!  My first recommendation to a non-Swedish reader is to go straight to the "Summary" section for English, German, or French (585-99).  These foreign-language summaries track the work very nicely as it examines the usage of fable between 1500 and 1800. Zillén describes the movement in general as from a "Lutheran humanist culture, via a mainly French-influenced aesthetical as well as pragmatical reorientation of the usage of fable during the Enlightenment, to a crisis that hit the fable around 1800, caused by the paradigmatic shifts of modernity, wherein a new literary understanding led to the questioning of the very idea of literature usage" (585).  The study pursues the "newly coined concept of the usage arena."  Three principles have governed the usage of fable: a chrestomathy principle, a vehicle principle, and an analogy principle."  Chrestomathy, I learned here, is the usage of select passages useful (Greek chrestos) for learning a language, specifically in this case Latin and Greek.  The fable was also used then in the vernacular for moral edification.  One example in this era and usage, I was curious to learn, was a Swedish selection of L'Estrange's 1692 version, with the Catholic reflections removed and Luther's foreword of 1530 substituted for L'Estrange's preface!  This usage is capable of "turning the fables into carriers of widely differing views and ideologies."  The third great usage has fables being the source and analogue of exempla stories.  This usage allows the fable to penetrate into different cultural contexts.  This monograph goes on then to examine the figure of Aesop.  A further chapter examines the modernizing of fable as a genre in the seventeenth century through La Fontaine and LaMotte and in the eighteenth through Gay, Gellert, and Lessing.  Fables in the late eighteenth century found their way heavily into newspapers, and were also used to create a popular first book for aspiring writers.  Zillén sees four causes for the seeming "used-upness" of fable in modernity's undermining of "the virtue ethical way of thinking, exemplum-based rhetoric, the anthropomorphizing view of the animal world, and the poetological principle combining business with pleasure."  He finds the genre alive in language teaching within schools; in quotations, allusions, and parodies; and in literature for children.  It was a delight to track this study, if only in its English summary!

2020 Fabel-haft: 10 Fabeln nach Aesop in Versen, Bildern und Liedern: Hochdeutsche Ausgabe.  Jens Jacobsen.  Aquarelle von Ulrike Brokoph.  Paperbound.  Oldenburg: Isensee Verlag.  $21.86 from GreatBookPrices through ABE, Feb., '21.

This is a large-format (8¼" x 11⅞") paperback featuring lovely developments of ten fables.  These "developments" take us in three directions.  First, these texts are in Hochdeutsch but highly colloquial.  They tested my Umgangsprache!  Secondly, they offer songs for each fable, nicely rhymed.  Third, they offer good, large colored illustrations for each fable.  The "Etwas vorweg" preface wishes readers "Viel Freude dabei!"  That is a good sign!  Each fable has several small pictures besides the full-page illustration.  Maybe the best of these large illustrations is that of the mouse sniffing around the sleeping lion's nose (18).  Not a good idea!  Another excellent illustration is that for "Eagle and Tortoise" (35).  There are three moments of "Suchspiel" along the way and appendices on Aesop and on the material on FG too long to put at its place in the book.  Do not miss the identical book done in "Plattdeutsch" at the same time by the same people.

2020 Fables Found: A Treasure of Wisdom for Grandchildren.  L. Devar.  First Edition.  Paperbound.  Milton Keynes, UK: Earth Afloat Publishing.  $17.30 from Great Book Prices through Ebay, April, '22.

As Moolar Dovar explains in an afterword, his father wrote these seven stories about 1990.  Stories place a classic story or image within a contemporary story of grandparent and child.  In the first, Kumar is angry that his father has not taken him along to market.  Grandpa tells Kumar how they used to catch monkeys.  The trick is like "The Boy and the Filberts."  The monkey would never take his fist out of the coconut, and so it hampered him from escaping.  Kumar understands the upshot of the story: "You are saying that one must learn to let go, even when desire is strong."  In the second story, grandmother advises a little girl who wants grandma to help her get beautiful stones from a pool which she cannot navigate.  Grandmother advises her to become a "honeyguide,"  Just as this bird entices a bear to open a hive -- and then both enjoy honey -- the grandchild needs to find a "bear" to share the pretty stones with her.  A boy learns from his grandfather to be like an octopus when a larger boy bullies him.  First, try puffing yourself up.  If that does not ward him off, shoot ink and disappear.  "Survival is itself a powerful triumph."  There are some problems with orthography in this 47 page booklet.

2020 Fabulas.  Monteiro Lobato.  Graphic Design by Valdinei Gomes.  Paperbound.  Sao Paolo: Buobooks: Universo dos Libros.  $26 from Half-Price Books, Nov., '24.

This book is a refreshing discovery of an apparently kindred spirit.  Monteiro Lobato created beloved children's literature.  This work on fables, as far as I can understand its Portuguese, regularly starts from a good version of a traditional fable of Aesop and or La Fontaine.  It moves then regularly to a conversation involving several charming characters including the rag doll Emilia.  GA, for example, is told with a happy ending: the grasshopper is invited in to spend the whole winter.  "But there was a different ant in Europe" who plays out the La Fontaine version.  Characters engage in a lively discussion then about whether that is really the way ants are.  "Eagle and Owl" prompts a comment about the way artists love their offspring too, and so they find them beautiful.  OF leads to a discussion of the appropriate Portuguese word for "monster."  I would enjoy a book of these fables translated into English.  That book seems not to exist.  TOC at the beginning.  173 pages.  6" x 9¼".  Originally composed in 1922,  This book has a copyright of 2018.

2020 Fábulas de Esopo Como Nunca.  Adapted by Luz Orihuela.  Illustrated by Alex Herrerias.  .  First edition.  Hardbound.  Pamplona: Voca Editorial.  $32.94 from Amazon.com, Nov., '23.

This is an imposing book or large format, 10¾" x 12".  It offers 25 fables with strong, clever illustrations running to the edge of the page.  Best among these illustrations might be "El Avaro" (25); GA (29); AD (36-37); TMCM (52-53); and "The Turtle and the Eagle" (76-77).  The fables continue to 79; then follow "Actividades," consisting of seven questions on each fable.  I am delighted when clever illustrators take up fables!

2020 Famous Animal Fables.  Carol Huey-Gatewood.  Various artists.  Paperbound.  Huntington Beach, CA: Teacher Created Materials.  $10.48 from Bargain Book Stores through Ebay, Feb., '20.

This 7" x 9" pamphlet offers seven fables, illustrated by various artists.  The cover shows a human and several monkeys waving to several other monkeys suspended from vines.  The first fable is new to me: the king of all the birds, a swan, has a daughter who wants to marry the most beautiful bird.  She chooses the peacock, but then he shows off in so shameful a manner that he is rejected and shunned.  Pride comes before a fall.  In the second, a greedy fox finds a hunter's lunch in a tree and, famished and skinny, climbs in.  After eating lots of the hunter's food, he cannot get out.  Luckily, snow confuses the hunter and the fox is not found out.  He emerges wiser.  In the third story, four different animals claim that a tree is theirs but soon learn to share the tree: elephant, monkey, hare, and partridge.  The fourth fable is CP.  The fifth fable substitutes a horse for the usual donkey who seems to learn successful behavior from a pet dog.  The sixth story is the most surprising to me.  A hatmaker falls asleep and finds that monkeys have stolen his hats.  After all sorts of attempts, he angrily throws his own hat to the ground, and all the monkeys do the same.  Success!  He gets his hats back.  His grandson undergoes the same adventure and throws his hat to the ground without the same effect among the monkeys.  "You are not the only one with a grandfather who tells stories!"  The last story is the traditional "Lion and Rabbit" from Panchatantra.  This is a lively recent book!

2020 Les Fables de La Fontaine Dynamitées!  Alexandre Jardin.  Illustrated by Fred Multier.  Hardbound.  Vanves, France: Gautier-Langereau/Hachette Livre.  €10.40 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '22.

Those of us wondering if the creators of this work really mean "blown up!" get our answer on the back cover with its prominent word "BOUM!!!"  Ten fables are offered, as the beginning T of C shows, but now with different titles like "La course folle"; "Bataille dans la savane"; and "La star international."  Right after each title, we see La Fontaine's traditional verse fable, but then a prose story begins on the one part of the page, with an accompanying illustration stretching across the rest of the two page spread.  In TH, the tortoise accepts the challenge because her five children like surprises.  The hare diverts from the course to watch a film, "Les Aventures du Super-Lapin!"  The tortoise's children cheer her on all the way, while the hare stops to do some dancing with friends.  Only after all this activity does the hare enjoy a siesta.  The fable is true to La Fontaine but expanded in its detail.  So it goes in the other nine fables.  GA features a wannabee chanteuse and an ant who works as a night guard in a big department store.  The grasshopper gets a job in the store but prefers singing to working and quits work and becomes a street singer.  She is a hit and ants come to see her perform in concert.  But of course winter comes.  The grasshopper finds herself begging the ant to come into the store to get warm.  In a twist not in La Fontaine, the ant relents: "Allez, pour cet hiver, je vous accueille.  Mais faites attention l'année prochaine!"  Perrette swings her breakable jug of milk around, even while she is enjoying dancing in an amusement park.  These are engaging developments of the traditional fables.  The illustrations keep pace with the lively narrative.  Of all the delightful artist's treats to accompany these exploded tales, perhaps the disguised wolf lurking around young animals (103) is best.  149 pages.  7" x 10¼".

2020 Les Fables de la Fontaine, Livres I-IV.  Paperbound.  Algeria: Best Classics:  Dar Beni Mezghana.  $12.99 from Amazon, May, ‘21.

Here is the latest in print-on-demand books.  This paperback features GA on its cover.  Along the way there are full-page computer graphics, unfortunately only in black-and-white.  Among the best of them is "The Lion in Love" on 168: this lion is clawless and almost toothless!  Unfortunately, the illustration for a fable often comes only after one has turned the page on the text of the fable.  There are helpful vocabulary notes at the page bottom.  The back cover has a statement all too true for French schools, but not for American: "Ces fables sont un incontournable de l'école."  I had to look up "incontournable."  It means "unavoidable!"  Too true!  In French schools, you cannot avoid La Fontaine's fables!  218 pages.

2020 Les fables de La Fontaine Illustrées 1.  Paperbound.  Algiers, Algeria: Dar Beni Mezghana Jeunesse.  $16.75 from rarewaves-usa on Ebay, April, '21.

This may be our first book from a publisher in Algeria.  It is a print-on-demand 8½" x ll" book of 40 pages featuring 18 fables, as the back cover says, "dans ce premier tome."  I will be curious to see if other volumes follow.  The front cover and title-page repeat an excellent full-page illustration for FC, in which the fox waits patiently with eyes pleasantly closed for the cheese that is falling into a basket outfitted with a typical French checkerboard cloth.  I am surprised by the first sentence of the "Présentation": "On ne présente plus les fables de Jean de La Fontaine."  I collect multiple editions every year!  The general pattern here is that La Fontaine's verse is on the left-hand page, with unusual vocabulary explained at the bottom of the page.  The right-hand page has a full-page colored illustration, done in the style, I would say, of contemporary computer-generated art.  A typical illustration is that for "The Ass and the Lapdog" on 35.  After long fables, the editor finds a place in the illustration for the vocabulary help.  There is a T of C at the end.

2020 Les Fables de la Fontanel: A quoi riment nos vies sexuelles?.  Sophie Fontanel.  Paperbound.  Paris: Robert Laffont, SAS.  $16.82 from Stars and Stripes Bookstore, through Amazon, Sept., '20.

As far as I can tell, this is a rather racy book of rhyming verse texts.  They all deal with the "rhyming" of sexual lives.  Someone in the presence of the author one day asked the subtitle's question.  Her answer: "Our sexual lives rhyme.  That's not nothing."  I believe that there is a good deal of wit and wisdom here, but the colloquial French and the subject area do not belong to my "professional expertise"!  I enjoyed two short poems that I tried.  The first is "La fable du producteur qui croyait vraiment tout possible" (25).  I believe a film producer asks a wannabe starlet to perform a sexual act and she puts him down with two words: "Sucer quoi?"  "Sometimes two words are enough to take the hump off the camel."  The other is "La fable de l'homme qui se trompait sur les femmes" (67).  He thinks girls are all whores.  But maybe it's not a matter of money.  Maybe none of them wants to have anything to do with "sa flȗte"!

2020 Les Fables X - En passant par La Fontaine.  Juliette Clément.  Paperbound.  Paris: Édition BoD - Books on Demand.  $10.97 from Juliette Clément through Etsy, Dec., ‘20.  

This book is cleverly done.  GA takes a new and creative turn when La Fontaine’s “bise” becomes Clément’s “bite.”  Her black-and-white cartoon for each fable adds to the sauciness.  The frog explodes here for quite a different reason than in La Fontaine’s fable (13).  Perrette is thinking of other things than chickens and pigs (97).  Enough!  I will let adults seek further.  I do note that, in thanking me for investing in her little book, Juliette Clément wrote perceptively “I am a little surprised, but so delighted, with your interest in French naughty culture.”  My interest in La Fontaine takes me and this collection into many places!

2020 Les plus belles fables d'Ésope.  Illustrations by Kelly Anne Dalton.  Hardbound.  Paris: Auzou.  €19.95 from a new bookstore near the Seine, Paris, July, '23.

Here is a large (8¾" x 10⅞"), heavy 248-page book that I found where I might have least expected, in a small Parisian bookshop I passed almost every day on the way to the Seine.  The surprise is that I had not found it at Gibert Jeune, my normal source for recent French fable books.  The book features a cameo on its cover of the grasshopper singing and resting against a tree.  The book begins with a T of C and then an unusual element, a "Table Thématique," listing first kinds of animals and then kinds of people.  The colored illustrations fill the page without borders, and prose fables with morals are superimposed on them.  Many fables have two images, or even three like "The Eagle and Fox" (37-39) and MSA (129-31).  One might be surprised by stories like that on 21, where a famished wolf lets a child go for telling three things, the third of which is "Death to Wolves!"   Someone has, I believe, brought the fables together so that there is continuity, as from one mosquito story to another (44-45) or in the long sequence of fox stories from 51 through 71.  The designs are simple but intelligent.  The menacing wolf looks down from the height of a waterfall on the puzzled lamb (8-9).  The sad story of the frog and mouse is pictured well by showing the tie-up between two legs (50).  There is a touch of the joy reminiscent of the Untermeyers' approach in a two-page spread like "The Ass Carrying a Statue" (96-97) or "The Hares and the Frogs" (188-89).  One last favorite is the book's last fable: TB is a delight spread across two pages (246-47).  Every fable gets at least one illustration.  This is an extensive artistic effort that is worth it!

2020 Les Plus Belles Fables de La Fontaine 2.  Illustrated by Muriel Gestin.  Paperbound.  Quebec: Chouetteditions, com.  $17.5 from Amazon, Jan., ‘21.  

This 8½" square unpaginated paperback booklet offers eight fables in full color, as did its first – though unnumbered – volume in 2019.  Each fable receives about six pages.  The colored illustrations cover whole pages, into which several verses are inserted per page.  The art may well be computer generated.  Each fable has a prose moral added.  Gestin has fun with the load of stuff tied to the back of the ass and then, with the dead ass, to the back of the horse.  A great illustration is that of the dying worker in the dark with his children.  Also presented here are AD; “Lion and Gnat”; LM; DW; “Little Fish and Angler”; and 2P.  At the end is again a helpful lexicon of unusual vocabulary, arranged by fable.  The two covers together present a scene with La Fontaine and these fables' characters.  The front cover pictures animals running fast together from left to right, with the dove above doing the same.

2020 Les plus illustres fables d'Ésope.  Stefania Leonardi Hartley.  Various illustrators.  Hardbound.  Nimes: Ruban d'Or: SDP Le Livre Club.  €6.50 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '23.

Illustrators include Alessandra Fusi, Luca Poli, Laura Sighinolfi, Francesca Pesci, Marga Biazzi, and several combinations of others.  There are seventeen fables on 124 large (8½" x 11") pages.  This is an international creation, printed in India.  Does it not sound like most of the artists come from Italy?  Though the illustrations are in varous styles, all are simple and direct.  Perhaps typical of the illustrations is this fable that is new to me: "La souris sous le granier à blé" (49-51).  The chubby little mouse with his bandana, easy chair, and book in the farmer's grain bin invites in friends and expands his entrance hole.  Once the friends are inside, the farmer notices the hole and blocks it up.  "He who embraces too much embraces badly."  The beggar-grasshopper has "froid et faim" all the way to springtime (63). Another short fable well presented is "The Ass and the Wolf" (96-99).  In an unusual conclusion, both mice in TMCM declare that life in the country is better (112).  I am always a little surprised to see the French present Aesop rather than La Fontaine, and I am suspicious that their Aesop has been Lafontained.

2020 Oi mythoi tou Aisopou me Playmobil.  Nikos Giannopoulos.  Ekdoseis Papadopoulos.  Paperbound. Playmobil.  $1 from happy*sheriff through Ebay, July, ‘21.  

Here is the booklet that accompanies the Playmobil set of Aesop's fables.  The artistry involves a clever combination of the photographed Playmobil figures -- of course! -- and computer generated colored scenes.

2020 Once Upon a Time: Rare Children's Literature from Justin G. Schiller, Ltd.  Heritage Rare Books Auction.  Paperbound.  Dallas: Heritage Rare Books.  $10 from an unknown source, Oct., ‘20. 

As always with Justin Schiller, it is a pleasure to see the beautiful things he and his staff have gathered.  Here is an impressive auction catalogue, slightly under 8½" x 11", 187 + 7 pages long.  The booklet is full of gorgeous photography and extensive background for each offered publication or item.  There are a number of lovely fable books offered here: #s 45013; 45034; 45043; 45072; 45127; 45256; 45358; 45359; and 45450.

2020 Reynard the Fox.  Retold by Anne Louis Avery.  Illustrations by Wendy Wigley.  Second impression.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  Oxford: Bodleian Library: University of Oxford.  Gift of Maureen Hester, Dec., '20.

Reading this book cover to cover was a real pleasure.  I have made my way through the "Roman de Renard" at several levels at different times in my life.  This was a serious trip, and it was well rewarded.  I have seldom encountered a book that pushed the envelope of my vocabulary as much as this work has.  There is even a glossary at the back, particularly because the author includes such a wealth of reference and medieval culture.  Well done!  I was surprised at how the traditional Aesopic fables congregate in the chapter titled "Jewels."  There one finds Reynard's description of fantastic treasures supposedly gathered by him and sent to the king as gifts, and he weaves the fables in masterfully.  The book's introduction, "A Fox for all Seasons," helps to shape a reader's attitude well.  We are invited to let Reynard be Reynard, not utterly unlike Odysseus: a witty survivor, who seems even to enjoy getting into the scrape that will be challenging to escape.  And escape he does!  449 pages.  6" x 8¼".

2020 The ESmith Short Tales: Fables and Stories from Fairytale Land.  GranRan.  Illustrations by NuSaga Press.  Paperbound.  NuSaga Press.  $10.06 from grandeagleretail through Ebay, July, '20.

This 100-page paperback, printed upon demand, offers fifteen short stories based generally on traditional Aesopic fables but transformed into short stories.  eSmith is a fox cub who gets into adventures and learns of adventures from his tailless father and his "brash vixen" mother.  I read the first five, which includes a story new to me about a fox meeting his shadow for the first time.  eSmith's father lost his tail not in but on the ice.  "The Eagle and the Fox revisited" follows the fable carefully.  eSmith is the very cub stolen by the eagle, and his mother is the one who brings fire to the tree.  In this version, she burns down the whole tree after her son's release.  There is about one grayscale illustration per story.

2020 The Fabled Life of Aesop.  Ian Lendler.  Illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski.  First edition, first printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  Boston/NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  $14.39 from Amazon, Nov., '20.

Every couple of years a new book of fables comes out and I find myself cheering and saying "Yes, that's the idea!  Keep it fresh and engaging!"  This new version does just that.  It focuses early and late on Aesop's life and fits the fables into the framework created by that lens.  A climactic fable is thus DW, through which Aesop clever asks for his freedom from his owner "Jadon."  A number of features of this book echo the lovely approach to him, his life, and his stories.  Thus the dust-jacket does not simply echo the cover.  It pulls together key symbols in its own way.  Clever decorations show up in unexpected places, as when the fox gets the grapes on the colophon page.  The lion of other fables shows up with a blowing mane in SW and elsewhere, as does the same lovely Greek vase.  The stories show the same freshness.  Thus the wolf in BW eats the boy for dessert!  The donkey trying to be a lapdog breaks dishes.  TMCM gets a prize from me for both the creative hiding-place of the mice and then for the country mouse's good-bye wave.  The climactic double-page spreads between 52 and 57 are veritable feasts of illustration and morals.  Two questions arise for me from the book's interpretation.  Should we understand that Aesop started his storytelling career as a boy?  And was his story common knowledge at the time that his stories became widespread?

2020 The Fables of La Fontaine.  Craig Hill.  Illustrated by Gustave Moreau.  Hardbound.  Musée Gustave Moreau/In Fine.  $15.08 from Medimops, March, '23.

This book joins Juliet Carey's similar edition from 2021 in paying tribute to an outstanding collection of artistic illustrations of La Fontaine's fables.  Marie-Cécile Forest has edited this beautiful large-format book offering the 35 known watercolors Gustave Moreau originally did as a commission from for Antony Roux, along with 29 others that have disappeared since the series was completed in 1884.  The book moves simply from one fable to the next, generally offering Craig Hill's translation on the left and Moreau's watercolor as a full-page colored illustration on the right-hand page.  Among the most striking paintings for me are: CW (23); FK (29); "The Lion in Love" (32); "The Coach and the Fly" (49); "The Cobbler and the Financier" (63); "The Rat and the Elephant" (67); and "The Oyster and Litigants" (79).  9½" x 12".

2020 The Fox & The Goose.  Mick Gowar.  Illustrated by John Joven.  Hardbound.  London: Reading Champion: Franklin Watts.  $15.07 from Amazon, April, '22.

A traditional Aesop fable is retold as the story of Fox and Goose, who try to be friends, but end up misunderstanding one another and not showing compassion for each other's needs, with disastrous consequences.  The illustrations are lively.  Might one call the art cubist?  Joven enjoys showing us both of a character's eyes, even from the side.  There are several curiosities here in the story.  For Aesop's fox and stork, we have here a fox and a goose.  The background is an early history in which all the animals were friendly with each other.  Goose here invites fox first but unintentionally frustrates him by serving her meal in jugs.  Fox, angry, serves thick porridge on flat dishes.  Their falling.out leads to widespread division and hostility among the animals.

2020 The Lion and the Mouse and Other Stories.  Nicholas Oliver.  Illustrated by Stephanie Drake.  Seventh printing.  Paperbound.  Cottage Farm, Sywell, UK: Igloo Books.  $4.01 from Awesome Books, April, '23.

This 8½" x 11" pamphlet seems to be in the same series as "The Tortoise and Hare and Other Stories" by the same editor, artist, and publisher.  It offers "The Lion and the Elephant"; "The Gnat and the Lion"; and LM.  The text again uses a variety of sizes, bolding, and typefaces to emphasize particular words.  The art is big, like the pamphlet itself.  In the first story, lion learns that everybody is afraid of something -- often, as in his case, something laughable.  Elephant is deadly afraid of a mosquito getting into his ear.  In "The Lion and the Gnat," the illustrations are particularly telling.  I love the circular illustration on 13 of the lion looking down cross-eyed on the gnat crawling around his nose.  Lion finally gives in and declares "Gnat is King of the Beasts!"  In this version, the arrogant gnat actually chooses the web as worthy of him.  In an unusual twist, the spider lets the gnat go when the gnat admits that he is only a gnat.  In LM, two mice rest on the lion's nose after running around on his back.  "That was fun.  Let's do it again."  The caught mouse here offers "If you are ever in trouble, I will help you."  The moral: "Never dismiss an offer of help, no matter how small it may seem."

2020 The Magic of Aesop.  Robert Martel.  Foreword by James Hazlerig.  First printing.  Paperbound. Positive Results Hypnosis.  $12.95 from Amazon, July, ‘21.  

"How to Use the Wisdom of Aesop's Fables to Spark Your Transformational Change."  While his audience includes anyone open to enjoying a story, Martel’s special focus is on counselors, hypnotists, teachers, and parents.  He writes to help people in these helping professions to use stories and to use them effectively.  He hopes that readers will ”learn how to apply and modify the morals of Aesop’s Fables to client situations….”  He hopes to lead them to create their own fables.  “Decide to take action and apply the Magic of Aesop!”  We are not surprised that Martel, as a professional hypnotist, finds that “All good stories are hypnotic” (22).  Martel quotes a variety of translations and refers to a variety of sources.  The book reads like a self-help manual, with an experienced teacher coaching along the conversational way.  Thus there are friendly tips and maxims like “Your Client Owns the Progress, You Own the Process!” (81).  I am happy to know of this fellow Aesop enthusiast!

2020 The Man, The Boy, and The Donkey.  Illustrated by Amruta Y. Patil.  Hardbound.  Kiazpora.  $15.99 from Half-Price Books, Nov., '23.

MSA is here told in Amharic.  Our 79th language!  The story is told in typical fashion, though the ending is surprising.  There is no death of the donkey, nor is there a decision by the man.  The last word goes to passersby who comment "You fools!  Do you carry donkeys?"  The moral is, in Google translate, "If you try to please everyone, you can please no one."  Strong simple illustrations have the two walking through desert to Gebiya.  46 pages.  6" x 9".

2020 The Panchatantra: Teaching Tales of Old India.  Narindar Uberoi Kelly.  Illustrated by Meagen Jenigen.  Paperbound.  Gurgaon, India: Hachette India Children's Books.  $12.15 from Amazon, Feb., '20.

This version has two great features.  First, it illustrates each story.  The colored illustrations range from part-page -- like the crocodile on viii -- to full-page -- like Sharma telling stories to the three young men on 7.  They help as one makes one way through a long work.  Secondly, the original feature of this 348-page edition is that the frame story is told on colored pages, while the individual stories filling in along the way are told on white pages.  A reader can let the subsidiary stories go in order to follow the frame story.  This clever arrangement can keep a reader on track as we descend through fables within fables.  Also, each of the five books has a list of its stories.  Again, one has help to know where one is along the way.  I would love to have a chance to teach this Panchatantra in a course!

2020 151 Aesop's Fables.  Paperbound.  Delhi: Manoj Publications.  $21.99 from Sawan Gupta, Delhi, through Ebay, Jan., '22.

This book offers 151 numbered fables, usually two per page, each with a computer-generated colored illustration.  The book, about 8½" x 11" is 80 pages long.  The front cover is a riot of fable moments presented together.  There is a T of C on 3-4.  The illustrations are not the same as those in Manoj's series of "Sawan World Famous Aesop's Fables."  Several of the fables I sampled have different versions from the usual.  In DW, the wolf is sick, not simply emaciated (6).  In OF, the frog children are only frightened by the ox; there are no deaths.  Their father inflates himself to bursting (7).  "The Deer with the Golden Horns" (8) differs in several ways from what we are used to.  The horns are golden.  There is no comment on the deer's legs.  His pursuer is a hunter.  Also on 8, the trees say to the man with an axe-head "You can take wood from all of us!"  "The Wise Dog" is new to me (9).  A young boar defeats him.  The dog remembers never losing a fight when he was younger.  "But now, I am old and you are laughing at me.  One day, you will be old too."  "The Angry Dog" (16) is told strangely.  Both in picture and text, the dog has a dog-house or "kennel."  Somehow the cattle have to "cross the dog to reach the manger."  Usually the dog is in their manger!  The book is in a series of almost fifty books of 151 stories each, including dinosaur tales, folk tales, and Bible stories.



2021 A Rebellion Rabbit Rivals a Mighty Lion.  Paperbound.  Fantastic Fables.  $7.95 from Homedeliciousa through Ebay, March, '22.

Here is a 23-page booklet telling the classic Panchatantra story of "regulated sacrifice":  a clever and courageous act removes a tyrant.  The art is simple.  There is a standard frame around text pages.  The story reaches its climax, I believe, about two-thirds of the way through.  As we look at a right-hand page showing the same illustration used on the front cover -- the rabbit in the midst of many animals -- we read "It's not about the size of the body.  What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!"  That statement from the rabbit captures the heart of his ploy.  This is a print-upon-demand booklet.  Some of us would have titled the booklet rather "A Rebellious Rabbit Rivals a Mighty Lion."

2021 Aesop's Animals.  Jo Wimpenny.  First edition, first printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  London: Bloomsbury Sigma.  $24.97 from Great Book Prices through Ebay, Dec., '21.

Books about fables in 2021, from several directions, work to "save" Aesop rather than to get beyond him.  As Justin David Strong uses Aesop to understand Luke's parables, so here Jo Wimpenny investigates the reality that many of Aesop's unlikely fables actually reflect what happens in nature.  Crows do learn how to put pebbles into jars!  Fable purists, like the present reader, will probably profess that they do not care whether there is a natural basis for Aesop's engaging stories, but Wimpenny is there to say that the more we know, the more we know about the likelihood of Aesop's stories.  Bravo, Wimpenny!

2021 Aesop's Fables: A Poetic Primer.  Adapted by B.B. Gallagher.  Illustrated by Charles Arbat.  Dust jacket.  Hardbound.  Gastonia, NC: Good & True Media.  $8.48 from Half-Price Books, Nov., '23.

Here is an unusual book.  A first unusual feature is that its nine traditional fables are in rhymed quatrains.  A second is that it explicitly aims to help people be virtuous.  Further unusual features include the opportunity to send copies free of charge to as many friends as one likes.  The QR code that unlocks this offer also allows one to hear the book read aloud while one views the illustrations.  This is an ambitious book, with an attractive dust-jacket and large format (8¾" x 11⅜").  For me, the verse sometimes labors.  The illustrations are lively but may be slightly inhibited by their assigned role of framing pages of text.  Good sample illustrations are the pairs early in this unpaginated book for both GA and DS.  MM uses as its moral "Never, ever/Count your chickens before they hatch."  The dust-jacket reveals that the author -- also the publisher -- was bored as an accountant and wanted better literature for his family to read.  He aims to "help children grow in virtue, one moral lesson at a time."  The milkmaid carrying her pail on the cover and flyleaf is spirited!  After the fables, a next section offers for each fable a pair of pages.  These pages present reflections on a virtue and a vice and several questions for personal appropriation of the fable.  There are finally four pages of glossary.

2021 Aesop's Fables in Persian: Luqman Hakim.  Hafiz Sahar.  Paperbound.  David Sahar.  $6.25 from GreatBookPrices through Alibris, Jan., '22.

This is a print-on-demand paperback of 216 pages, 5½" x 8½", featuring a picture of its author on the back cover, with a link to his website.  There are frequent very simple black-and-white illustrations throughout the book.  Here is Amazon's comment: "Aesop's Fables in Persian is translation work of Dr. Hafiz Sahar, Professor of Journalism and Chief Editor of major newspaper in Afghanistan in the early 1970s. The stories are timeless teacher of truth that has endured the test of time in every major language since 6th century BC, when it was first composed by Aesop. There are over 250 captivating short stories, each to teach children and adults about philosophy, ethics, morals and a clear view of humanity's nature. Dr. Sahar's deep commitment to free speech/press and love of philosophy and social justice were driving force for this work. "

2021 Aesop's Fables, Modern Version No 1: Golden Age Comics 1944-1947.  Softbound.  Coppell, TX: Comic Books Restore.  $10 from Amazon, April, '23.

Here are nine stories from various comic books from 1944 to 1947.  The particular sources are listed on the page following the last page of fables, along with pictured covers of six of them.  I am delighted to see these versions preserved and even cleaned up, as is suggested on the booklet's first page advertising the "Comic Books Restore Project."  It is a shame that the booklet is not paginated, particularly because this copy's page sequencing is confused.   The first story, DW, loses its fourth and final page until fourteen pages later.  Both OF and GA have their two cartoon pages reversed.  BC runs into two problems: an early bubble has "frieind" for "friend," and the back cover has "The Council in Mice" rather than "The Mice in Council."  "Funny Bees-ness" seems to be told in reverse and is new to me: a grasshopper entices an ant to rob honey; apparently the grasshopper pays for it.  The second half of the booklet seems to have the proper sequencing.  A curious feature of one particular story is that not a bat but a duck is the animal who sits out the war of the birds and beasts.  Several stories present a prose text in addition to the cartoon "bubbles."  This is a noble undertaking!

2021 Aesop's Fables: The Complete Collection.  Anthony Vanzelli.  Paperbound.  ©Anthony Vanzelli.  $27.36 from Barnes & Noble, May, ‘21.  

“5 Minute Bedtime Stories for Kids.  More Than 100 Classic Fables and Short Fairy Tales to Help Children & Toddlers Relax and Fall Asleep Fast.”  This book, despite its rather high price, is a disappointment.  It offers prose narratives of fables in twelve well organized chapters on standard 8½” x 11” paper.  There are partial-page colored computer generated cartoons every few fables.  Why is it disappointing?  For starters, in what sense is it “complete”?  Perry’s compendium of Aesop’s fables numbers in the 700’s.  The very first fable has the wrong title, confusing “The Tortoise and the Hare” with “The Tortoise and the Eagle.”  The subtitle makes reference to fairy tales: Why?  Fairy tales and fables are quite distinct, and Aesop belongs generally, I would even say almost exclusively, to the latter.  Little problems plague this text.  On 63, a picture covers the last part of a sentence.  The same page has both mice and rats engaging the lion.  Which is it?  108 adds a confusing plus sign in the midst of its prose.  125 refers to “doublons” rather than “doubloons.”  Aesop deserves better!

2021 Aevintyrar Aesop ("Adventures Aesop").  Paperbound.  Gyrfalcon Books.  $14.25 from Prepbooks through Ebay, May, '22.

Here is our third book in Icelandic.  The first was a surprising find at the top of the world in Bodo, Norway.  The second is a translation into Icelandic of Nasreddin's fables.  Two things mark this unpaginated paperback book.  It has a remarkably striking front cover of a lion's face done in a medium suggesting stained glass.  Secondly, it is utterly unadorned internally. There is a single page stating "Fabuler Aesops" with a blank obverse.  Then we are off and running with FG.  At the end there is nothing but the notice that the book was printed -- on demand -- in the USA.  Ebay offers Gyrfalcon Books as the publisher, but I have been unable to locate them on the web.

2021 Basni.  I. Krylov.  Illustrated by P.B. Chekmarev.  Hardbound.  Moscow: Book Panorama: Rosmen.  $15.95 from internationaltoys.com through Ebay, May, '22.

This is a high-quality pop-up book, and it cheers my heart to see such a well-made book.  Six fables are illustrated dramatically: FC; GA; "The Monkey and the Spectacles"; FG; "Swan, Pike, and Lobster"; and Cuckoo and Cock."  In the latest of these, a sparrow interrupts the mutual praise of cuckoo and cock to say "You can go on praising each other, but your music is simply worthless."  I am happy that people can still make books like this!

2021 Best of  Aesop's Fables.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  Delhi: Manoj Publications.  $25.99 from Sawan Gupta, Delhi, through Ebay, Nov., '22.

This book offers 61 fables, usually about two pages in length, each with multiple computer-generated colored illustrations.  The book, about 7" x 10", is 128 pages long.  The front cover surrounds the lion jumping into the well at the urging of the "victim" rabbit with smaller illustrations from fables like CP and GA.  There is a T of C on 3-4.  As far as I can tell, neither the illustrations nor the texts come from other Manoj fable publications.  Several of the fables I sampled have different versions from the usual.  The ant in GA can give the grasshopper only a few grains (11).  The grasshopper learns to work hard the next summer.  The fox apologizes to the stork for his behavior (25).  Similarly, in TB, the selfish traveler learns to care for his comrade through the rest of their journey (41).  The lion kicked last by the ass says nothing about the ass.  "Now that I am weak, all the animals are attacking me.  This is a sign of a weakling" (47).  The book is in a series of almost twenty books, generally "Best of" something.

2021 Build Up the Fables of La Fontaine.  Translated by Inga Sempel.  Illustrations by Anna Lang.  Hardbound.  Milan, Italy: White Star Kids: White Star.  $21.04 from ABC Books, Crawley, Great Britain, Nov., '21.

For five favorite fables, the left-hand page features a prose presentation of La Fontaine's fable with an artistic complement, like a single-view presentation of the fable or a helpful background.  The right-hand page offers about eight "pull out" heavy cardboard characters and their body-parts, each with tabs to connect the two-dimensional cutouts and make them into three-dimensional characters.  The five are TMCM, GA, TH, OF, and FS.  A last pair of pages praises La Fontaine.  Here is a clever idea well executed!  The cover advertises correctly "With lots of 3D models."

2021 Concert de Fables.  Jean de La Fontaine.  Illustrations after Oudry.  Hardbound.  Paris: Éditions Villanelle.  $33.75 from World of Books USA, through Ebay, Nov., '21. 

Here is an ambitious combination of music and text to celebrate 400 years of Jean de La Fontaine.  The 20 fables are presented in four groups of five, with a musical introduction and brief musical interludes between fables.  Each group has a musical symbol repeated with each fable.  Each text has a selection of an Oudry illustration, enhanced by a garish coloring of one or two elements.  The twenty resulting illustrations make up the endpieces inside front and back covers.  As one experiences on the accompanying CD, male and female voices alternate introducing and presenting the fables.  The first fable, GA, seems to be presented twice, once by each voice.  The sound track is also available online at a web address indicated inside the back cover.  Though I arrived at the site and got in with the appropriate password, each selection that I tried stopped after a few seconds.

2021 Country Colors, City Colors: A retelling of Aesop's fable The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.  Betty Farber.  Illustrated by Ann Hogue.  Paperbound.  Maryville, MO: Houts and Home Publications.  $8.56 from Half-Price Books, Nov., '23.

This is a lively reworking of the traditional fable.  Its changes are, I think, reflective of our culture.  Both country and city are described -- well described -- in terms of their colors.  That is a creative approach that will, I believe, appeal to children.  Perhaps the biggest change in the story is that, at its end, the two mice agree that both places have beautiful colors.  "It's fun to visit other places."  There are beautiful colors everywhere.  That is a more positive and affirming resolution than this fable usually receives.  There are other good touches in this rendition.  The transportation to the country is a pickup truck with hay in the back.  The ride to the city is in an open convertible.  City mouse is female and country mouse male in the illustrations, but the text does not identify genders.  The traditional fable starts with an invitation.  This version works its way into an invitation to visit by having the country mouse urge the city mouse to move.

2021 Fables de La Fontaine.  Illlustrated by Marc Boutavant.  Hardbound.  Paris: Gründ.  €14.95 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '22.

Here is yet another highly engaging book of La Fontaine's fables published recently.  The back cover speaks insightfully of Boutavant's humor and impertinence.  Illustrations come in a variety of sizes but regularly offering a portal of interpretation.  The title-page features an insect in a rainstorm holding a leaf as an umbrella.  Soon (5) we learn that that is the grasshopper on his way to the ant.  The mice in TMCM lie luxuriously in a bowl at the city banquet but, across the page, look out fearfully from a hiding place (8 and 9).  The wolf has the lamb securely tucked under his arm as he heads into the woods (19).  DW finishes with a great image of the wolf running -- and smiling as he does so (25)!  While various frogs demonstrate politically, one is lifted up by a beak (39).  For TT, Boutavant selects the moment when the tortoise has slipped off of his ride (53).  The milkmaid's pitcher now has become a flower pot (58)!  The poor ass is carrying a piano up the mountain path (65).  The book finishes in lovely fashion with the standard portrait of La Fontaine, only now as a fox!  7¾" x 10½".  71 pages.

2021 Fabliaux Immoraux.  Various writers.  Illustrations by Virginie Descure.  #35 of 50.  Paperbound.  Estang, France: Les Éditions Pastels Tilleuls.  €10 from librairie-raijepointcom through Ebay, July, '22.

Five contemporary writers offer witty parodies of La Fontaine's fables on explicit erotic themes, together with appropriate monochrome illustrations.  The black cover of this little (5¼" x 5½") paperback has an even blacker X at its center.  The title continues "Fabliaux immoraux librement inspirés par les fables de Jean de La Fontaine."  I tried a couple of the parodies, but the colloquial French is just too much for me.  There is a "Quizz" inserted into the book.  Witty stuff!  81 pages plus a T of C at the back.

2021 Fábulas clásicas.  Aesop and Felix Maria de Samaniego.  Ilustrado por Mariana Parrotta.  Seconda  edicion.  Paperbound.  Buenos Aires: Ediciones Lea.  $6.06 from ABE, Nov., '23.

This paperbound booklet puts together seven fables from Iriarte and nine from Jean de La Fontaine.  These prose fables with stated morals are confined to two-pages each.  The book may well be in series with Lea's "Fábulas maravillosas" featuring Aesop and Samaniego.  The colored art is again big, dramatic, and simple.  Iriarte seems to me regularly to be grinding an axe, even when the fable is not directed to his critics.  "The Ox and the Grasshopper" has the latter containing about a crooked row ploughed by the former.  The ox's answer includes both that most rows are straight and that he is working, by contrast with the singing grasshopper.  The master forgives an oversight from one working so hard.  Among the best illustrations might be that for FS, which offers a clear contrast in one scene.  Also good is "The Cat and the Fox."  6½" x 9½".

2021 Jean de La Fontaine.  Illustrations by Henri Galeron.  Second printing.  Hardbound.  Paris: Les Grande Personnes.  €17.50 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June

The landscape book of 53 pages continues a recent wave of fine La Fontaine books in French.  A number of the highly detailed illustrations seem rather predictable.  Let me note some of the most engaging illustrations: the painting lion (8); OR (20); CW (29); "Cat, Rabbit, and Weasel" (32); and DS (49).  This may be our first book printed in Latvia!

2021 Jean de La Fontaine: Das Grosse Fabel-Buch.  Übersetzung von Ernst Dohm.  Bebildert von Jan Peter Tripp.  Hardbound.  Boxed.  Leipzig, Germany: Faber & Faber.  €36 from Froehlich & Kaufmann, Berlin, March, '21.

I find this a strange book.  It takes itself seriously: boxed and beautifully executed, complete with a place-marking ribbon.  I tried the first four or five translations and found them good.  Perhaps that is the strength of the book; I cannot say that I know German translations of La Fontaine well.  The surprising and -- to me -- disappointing feature of the book lies in its illustrations.  There is a gorgeous humanized fox on both front and back of the lovely box, and there is a strange and fascinating human in a dead forest on the cover of the book.  Good so far!  Inside the text however, there is a strange array of art.  Each book gets a two-page title-page, with an object, perhaps a brush, a leaf, or a feather, before a Jackson Pollack like background.  I, poor soul, seek a narrative connection and find none, and I am not too sure where to turn.  Each book has from zero to three or four illustrations along the way, facing a blank page.  Many of these are like Grandville's animal-head-with-human-body caricatures in "La Vie privée et publique des animaux."  Good examples are the book's first two illustrations, one a black-and-white rendition of the fox from the cover of the box (15) and the other a dog in a party dress (25).  These are for me the most engaging art of the book, and among the best are the old bird pouring champagne (99) and the human toucan (115).  The placement of these has its own mystique, since the characters seem at least not to be connected to nearby fables.  Then there are paintings, one of a tapir at rest (65), another of a strange beach scene (134-35), and one of a giant lobster near a human (164-65).  Perhaps the most engaging illustration of the book is a scene of intimacy between a human male and a Sphinx (217).  I will keep watching for the insight that unlocks the mystique of this book!

2021 Jean de La Fontaine: Fables.  Illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer.  Hardbound.  Paris:  Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux - Grand Palais.  €19.90 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '22.

Here is a new effort by a favorite recent illustrator.  This is another great book!  The book starts with Dautremer's short poem-like introduction facing an image of a frog gentleman with questions.  "Enfin bref, avec tout ça, on se pose un tas de questions."  The book helps to present that "heap of questions."  A clever approach to the text has unusual vocabulary and historical references circled and tied to explanatory marginal balloons.  The large illustrations do raise questions.  In the first, a crooning crow at a microphone is having his pocket picked by a fox in the audience (8-9).  Grasshopper and ant face each other, with multiple poses of each building a strong background (10-11).  So the rhythm continues: two or four pages for each fable, with explicated text superimposed on dramatic illustration.  Among the best of the illustrations, I believe, is that of the mice lined up on a row of chairs looking the other way rather than volunteering to bell the cat (34-35).  The creative approach to GGE (40-41) has to be seen to be enjoyed!  The final image of the cat nestling the unsuspecting sleeping mouse is a fitting finish to an excellent reading experience (76).  8½" x 13¼".

2021 L'Agneau qui avait une faim de loup: Fable à ma fontaine.  Dominique Descamps.  Hardbound.  Paris: Les Grandes Personnes.  €22.50 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '22.

This is a remarkable presentation of a transformation of La Fontaine's WL.  The book draws attention to itself immediately by its unusual size: 9" x 13¼".  It surprises a reader when a part of the title-page proves to be a silhouetted cut out independent of the title-page itself.  That effect is repeated by two further paste-ins.  The wolf's impeccable dressing-up habits are emphasized by clothes that can be folded back from their hooks on his wall.  At the end of the book, we can also raise up bushes to see, on the back of the bushes, La Fontaine's original text and, underneath the bushes, the grave of a lamb not as heroic as the one in this story.  The turning point in this story comes when the lamb confesses to the wolf that he, the lamb, is hungry for wolf.  The terrified wolf loses all his fancy clothes and runs off defeated.  The wolf turns out here to be a "poor booby hiding under fancy clothes."  "Certaines innocences valent mieux que belle prestance."  How are we to construe the lovely tag in the title, "fable à ma fontaine"?  Perhaps "Fable from my fountain"?  The author has two similar books and I have been able to order one of them.  What fun!

2021 Les Fables Assassines: Policier.  Laurent Ibri.  First edition.  Paperbound.  Paris:  Éditions Ramsay.  €4.04 from Medimops, Berlin, June, '23.

For this thick recent paperback detective novel, let me paraphrase the back cover:  "On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Jean de La Fontaine's birth, find his fables in this captivating plot.  In this year 2021, the evening promises to be historic at the Grand Collège International de France, which celebrates its centenary. All the best patrons and alumni are gathered to attend the festivities. Everything would have been for the best if a patron, during a speech with the most heroic accents, had not persisted in wanting to collapse in front of everyone, as dead as one can be.  'Cyanide!' says a strange character after making his way to the stage. His name is Albugo Padeloc, the greatest detective since Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, as he claims. He has everything at his disposal to prove it: corpses, clues in shambles and fables of La Fontaine with a very personal interpretation. Let us trust Professor Ranchassel, Padeloc's irresistible friend, to transcribe verbatim the progress of the prodigy's investigations."

2021 Les Fables de Florian.  Illustrations by André Hellé and August Vimar.  Paperbound.  Paris: Jeunesse: Lecture suivie: Scudery Éditions.  €7.90 from L'Écume des Pages, Paris, June, '22.

I am delighted to have found this little paperback in a favorite bookshop in Paris.  I look forward to using it myself.  It brings two of his best illustrators to a pupil's book of Florian's fables.  The colored illustrations are not the only help for those of us trying to understand a sometimes difficult author.  There are vocabulary notes, comments, and -- especially -- a short discussion of each fable's moral.  These discussions are pleasantly candid, as in this comment on "La taupe et les lapins":  "La fable de Florian est peut-être moins claire qu'elle n'y paraȋt" (55).  Great work on rendering the colored illustrations!

2021 Les Fables de Jean de La Fontaine.  Illustrated by Alexandre Honoré.  Hardbound.  Gand, Belgium: Daphne S.A.  €14.95 from Gibert Jeune, Paris, June, '22.

Here is another impressive recent French-language presentation of La Fontaine with strong interpretative illustrations.  In this large-format book (9¼" x 12"), the illustrations are full-page and extend to the border of the page.  I find them insightful and delightful.  Notice the eye of the stork in FS (5).  WL has a strong illustration (22).  The excellent illustrations include double pages like those for FK (44-45) and the "dragon with many heads" (28-29).  Other fine illustrations include "Eagle and Owl" (63), "Little Fish and Angler" (96), and "Fox and Goat" (117).  In TH, the hare is having gentlemanly tea as the tortoise passes him by (73).  There is an AI at the end.  125 pages.

2021 Les Fables de La Fontaine.  Decoupages Emmanuel Fornage.  Hardbound.  Paris:  circonflexe.  €29 from Gibert Joseph, June, '22.

This book represents a curious redoing of earlier work by Circonflexe published in both 2013 and 2014.  That earlier work covered the same gorgeous scissor work of Emmanuel Fornage, but both earlier printings had a special way of putting a page of white paper -- with several forms cut out -- before each scissored scene.  One could see through this white page's "windows" forward into portions of the colored scene and backward to the colored page.  In this 2021 edition, the cutouts are gone.  The white pages have the same forms at the same places, but now they are not windows.  They are what one would see on the following page or the previous page if there were a window there.  As I wrote of the two earlier printings, this large format (11" x 14¼") book is very impressive!  As the closing T of C shows, there are here fifteen of La Fontaine's fables.  Each is presented in a sequence of four pages beginning with a blank colored page.  The second page presents the fable's title and the faux "windows" described above.  A third page presents the text, with the faux windows looking back, as it were, into the beginning colored page.  The fourth page presents the decoupage, a large single-colored "Scheerenschnitte" cutout against a background of the first page's color.  Several colorful elements are then pasted upon the large cutout.  Despite the loss of the cutouts, two things continue to make this book special.  The first is each decoupage page.  Fornage's sense of color and his gift for design make these artworks glorious!  The sheer size of the background cutout gives the artist room to present cultural context with just enough color to let the highlighted scenes stand out.  Secondly, each fable is set in one French geographic context, identified in the T of C.  One rises from the fable at the bottom of the decoupage into a presentation of the region.  For example, the first fable, FS, presents a peasant home in Alsace and offers peasants who live there, with their children and animals.  This scheerenschnitte is, by the way, a true exemplar in that it was cut to present matching mirror images around a symmetrical center.  Only the pasted-in fox and wolf are not symmetrical.  The two pots they lean on are!  Among the decoupages, my prizes would go to the simplest, like FS, FC, and OR.  The best cutout is surely the lion in LM.  What fun!  The cover has changed to the FS illustration.

2021 Les Fables de La Fontaine en Orients.  Illustrées par le fond Feuillet de Conches du musée de Château-Thierry.  Various artists.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  Château-Thierry: Orient editions.  $51.60 from Amazon, Nov., '23.

In the 19th century, the French diplomat Felix Sebastien Feuillet de Conches created a wild project.  He sent collections of La Fontaine's fables to his correspondents to have them illustrated by local artists.  He received back typical paintings from Egypt, Persia, Abyssinia, China, India, and Japan.  These created a treasure trove of illustrations, which have been kept at the Jean de La Fontaine museum in Château-Thierry and which had never been published or revealed to the general public.  I had never known of these.  Learning of them makes me think of getting back to Château-Thierry!  Walking through this book is making one's way again through the fables of La Fontaine, but with delightful and delightfully varied illustrations.  Each of the illustrations has an indication of its country and city of origin.  CW is, I believe, the only fable to get three different illustrations (69).  Many have two.  The Abyssinian illustrations stand out as thoroughly different from the others.  Among the best overall, I believe, are those for MSA (81); TT (271); and "The Old Man and Three Youths" (308-9).  383 pages.  There are comments and a T of C at the end of the book.  6¼" x 9¼".

2021 Les fables d'orthographe: 75 fables!  Jean-Vincent Voyer.  Paperbound.  Paris: Books on Demand.  $24.23 from Awesome Books, Nov., '23.

This is a book bought on a misunderstanding.  It is really 75 pointed lessons in French orthography, grammar, and conjugation.  Lessons often include a "moralité."  The "avant-propos" addresses La Fontaine and quotes both FC and GA.  As far as I can tell, that is the last reference to fables in the sense that this collection follows.  5¾"" x 8¼".  129 pages.  Apparently printed on demand in England though the title-page mentions Norderstedt, Germany.

2021 Mein Grosses Puzzlebuch: Fabeln von La Fontaine.  Translated by Britta Kholer.  Illustrations by Marisa Vestita.  Hardbound.  Milan: White Star Kids: White Star.  €14.95 from Froehlich & Kaufmann, April, '22.

What a different sort of book!  What one notices first about this 12" x 11" book is its heaviness.  Take off the wrapper, and it is clear that we have five heavy-stock picture puzzle pages inside with about 56 pieces each.  The simple designs are pleasant and help make for easier rather than harder placement of the pieces.  I recognize the artistic approach from the seven other other Vestita books from White Star in the collection.  This is an impressive piece of book engineering!  I am not sure I have seen the likes of it before.  I will cross-reference it among puzzles under "Toys."

2021 My First Fables.  Anthea Posea.  Paperbound.  London: Bumblebee Books: Olympia Publishers.  $12.27 from Awesome Books, April, '23.

This booklet is unusual in that it offers, just before its opening T of C, a plea for an end to child labor.  Ten fables follow on some46 pages, with rhyming verse stories usually occupying two to five pages each.  TH is surprising for offering only four couplets to tell the story.  TH is, by the way, a good example of the strength of illustration in this 6" square booklet.  Facial expressions, athletic exercises, and a reflexive gesture of dismay are all well represented in TH's four pages.  Another favorite of mine is "Fox in a Box" (23) whose three pages tell the story effectively.  The final seven-page rendition of OF ends with a great last illustration of the pre-pop moment.

2021 The Best Aesop's Fables for Little Kids.  Paperbound.  Coppell, TX: Independently published.  $7.99 from Amazon, April, '22.

As the book's back cover says, "This book has only the best and most famous kid-friendly Aesop’s Fables with cute little illustrations, which toddlers and children can enjoy and learn from."  8½" x 11".  26 pages.  In fact, the "cute little illustrations" are largely repeated on the cover.  This book may set a contemporary record for the least information offered: no publisher, author, or artist.  There is a T of C on 2-3.

2021 The Fables: Gustave Moreau.  Juliet Carey.  Hardbound.  Waddeston Manor, Buckinghamshire: The Rothschild Foundation.  $37.70 from Zoom Deals through Ebay, April, '22.

Occasional mention of Gustave Moreau and sample offerings of specific work of his did not prepare me for this revelation of the extent of his work on fables.  Moreau created some 64 watercolor illustrations of La Fontaine's fables, first exhibited in 1886 and last exhibited in 1906.  This present book is the catalogue of a recent exhibit at the Rothschilds' Waddesdon Manor.  The book's author, Juliet Carey, was curator of that exhibit.  The book, large format (9¾" x 12") and 168 pages long, gives accounts of Moreau's life, including the fable watercolors; of La Fontaine and the fables; and of animal studies by Moreau that prepared for this work.  The bulk of the book is then an impressive catalogue featuring a large colored illustration of each of the 35 fables in the exhibit, starting with "Allegory of Fable," in which fable rides on a chimaera.  Among the best, for me, are WS; "The Monkey and the Dolphin"; "Death and the Woodcutter," in which death is a seductive woman; and FK.  The book's last pictorial section is a brief account of Felix Bracquemond's black and white etchings based on Moreau's fables.  Of the many critical comments included here, the most helpful for me is that Moreau "explored states of consciousness."  Moreau achieved early fame with popular works exploring mythology, e.g., "Oedipus and the Sphinx."  This book is a new treasure in the collection!

2021 The Fables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: A New Foundation for the Study of Parables.  Justin David Strong.  Hardbound.  Paderborn, Germany: Studies in the Context of the Bible, Vol. 5:  Brill: Ferdinand Schöningh.  $169.94 from PB Shop UK through Amazon, 11/21. 

Here is a book that could engage me for a long time to come.  Its 629 pages are packed with questions and insights that I have wondered about, written about, and taught.  For now, I will offer only an impression gleaned from reading two crucial summaries, the "conclusions" to its two parts (225 and 537).  The major impression I have is that Strong works hard here to see Jesus' parables as fables.  I understand him to be saying "See Jesus' parables as fables and you will solve many of your issues."  This project includes resurrecting knowledge of ancient fable, which has dwindled in the last century.  "Hardly any biblical scholars today, parables specialists included, are familiar with the ancient fable" (226).  I take it that Strong is trying to deconstruct the view that Jesus' parable genre was "new."  "The Lukan 'parables,' in particular, demand a long list of exceptions to parable theory, from how many points they are allowed to have, to whether they are allowed to be 'impossible,' to whether they need to preach about the kingdom of God, or are permitted to make us laugh" (538).  I look forward to many hours with this stimulating book!

2021 Tierfabeln von Äsop bis La Fontaine in Gemäldeserien seit 1600.  Lisanne Wepler.  Various artists.  Hardbound.  Petersberg: Studien zur Internationalen Architektur- und Kunstgeschichte 182: Michael Imhoff Verlag.  €69 from Frölich und Kaufmann, April, ‘21. 

Every now and then a serious and expensive volume appears, on which people have worked hard to bring together a significant array of art and insight.  This tome is one of those.  Its 300 large-format (9½” x 12”) pages are filled with image and information.  Maybe start with 292, just before the "Literaturverzeichnis": it looks like a bookshelf of mine.  Variants of this motif appear elsewhere in the volume.  In each of the five principal chapters, a century forms the backdrop for a set of some six or eight visual stops or even tours.  The first of these takes us “Auf den Spuren der Fabeltiere.”  We get used to enjoying one beautiful and well-presented image after another.  The second chapter begins with a strong full-page detail of Franz Snyder’s painting of the stork’s revenge-meal in a vase, complete with the eel and two swimming frogs.  Along the way here, I am glad to see illustrations by Sadeler and many by Gheeraerts.  The particular focus here is on Flemish images in Spanish possession in the seventeenth century.  Do not miss Paul de Vos’ DS on 37; a detail appears on the book’s front cover.  Chapter 3 is all about Oudry and his influence in the 18th century.  Chapter 4 is “Bunte Vielfalt in England im 19. Jahrhundert.”  Among the many pictured here are Crane, Robinson, Detmold, Rae, Rackham, Folkard, Grandville, Doré, Griset, and then back to Barlow, Kirkall, and Bewick.  An important painter in this chapter is John Bucknell Russel and an important place is Castell Coch.  The last substantive chapter, far shorter than the others, traces painted series into the twentieth century.  The sixth chapter catalogues the illustrations and offers a text for each fable, with a reference to the multiple appearances of that fable.  There is so much here! 

2021 101 Tales: The Great Panchatantra Collection.  Hardbound.  Wonder House: Prakash Books.  $17.99 from Amazon, Dec., '22.

There are several notable qualities in this large (8½" x 11") book.  First, it may set a record among contemporary publications for a lack of bibliographical information.  Who did the versions, who did the pictures, and where in the world is Wonder House?  Secondly, this is an unusual approach to Panchatantra in that it uses no frame story.  Thirdly, as far as I understand the history of particular fables, the book's editors are include specific fables from the "Western," Aesopic, tradition, in this collection.  I refer to fables like WC (60); FS (61); TH (62); and AD (63).  Fourthly, the book offers a moral for each fable.  To some, that practice will be helpful.  For me, it takes away the quality that Panchatantra has of letting characters use fables for specific meanings in their given situations.  Finally, this book may be helpful in showing the array of good fables available to someone who wants specific stories.  The illustrations are about what one would expect in the era of computer-generated illustrations.  They are colorful, lively, and appropriate.  160 pages.




2022 A Hundred Fables: Aesop (Cover: Aesop's Fables Coloring Book).  Illustrations by Percy Billinghurst.  Paperbound.  Orlando, FL: Pharus Publishing.  $12.99 from Amazon, Jan., '23.

Here is curious 8½" x 11" print-upon-demand paperback book that gives two pages -- one for text and one for illustration -- to 100 fables from Aesop.  Outside of the covers, the book is entirely black-and-white.  It hurries to begin, with only a page to acknowledge the publisher and a page to declare a title -- one of three -- and a word of explanation about Aesop and Percy Billinghurst.  Similarly, at the end there are only two pages of advertisements.  I miss rudiments like a T of C or AI.  The three titles are "Aesops Fables Coloring Book" (front cover); "A Hundred Fables Aesop" (inside); and Aesops Fables with Illustrations by Percy J. Billinghurst: 100 Fables and Illustrations" (back cover).  The texts are taken without acknowledgement from George Fyler Townsend (1867).

2022 A Hundred Fables of La Fontaine (cover: "100 Fables Vintage Coloring Book").  Elizur Wright (NA).  Illustrations by Percy Billinghurst.  Paperbound.  Orlando, FL: Pharus Publishing.  $12.99 from Amazon, Jan., '23.

Here is curious 8½" x 11" print-upon-demand companion paperback to Pharus' book of Aesop's fables.  It again gives two pages -- one for text and one for illustration -- to 100 fables, this time from La Fontaine as translated in Elizur Wright's verse, though Wright goes unacknowledged.  Outside of the covers, the book is entirely black-and-white.  It hurries to begin with only three pages preceding the fables themselves.  A first page acknowledges the publisher and a second declares a title -- different from that on the cover -- and a word of explanation about La Fontaine and Percy Billinghurst.  A third introductory page offers a lovely full page illustration of King Lion's animal court.  Similarly, at the end there is only one page of advertisements.  I miss rudiments like a T of C or AI.  The cover title is "100 Fables Vintage Coloring Book."  Billinghurst's illustrations, with the title at the bottom of each, are well rendered.  If I were Billinghurst, I would want the internal blacks to be more black and less gray.

2022 Aesop's Fables.  Retold by Caroline Lawrence.  Illustrated by Robert Ingpen.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  London and Sydney: Welbeck Editions.  $18.71 from Alibris, Oct., '22.

I have known Ingpen from several volumes of folk tales and fables published in the 80's and 90's.  Caroline Lawrence is new to me.  I notice here immediately her dedication of this book to "Laura Gibbs, a passionate and generous expert on Aesop's fables."  How true!  Lawrence's beginning "Note" advises "I thought it would be fun to add bits from an ancient biography of Aesop to make all the little fables into a kind of story."  I would say that her creative effort succeeds.  Maybe the lack of a T of C aids that effort.  I started reading at the beginning, with "The Orator and the Fable" (8) and kept right on going for many pages.  One gets a sense of Aesop's life along with the fables.  The versions are well crafted.  Ingpen's artistry includes about one partial-page illustration per page, but there are also significant full-page and two-page illustrations, like "Aesop for Sale" (68); SW (78-79); and CP (102-3).  Ingpen's style is distinctly non-photographic; subjects are presented in a slightly diffused fashion.  The human figures are, for me, the most engaging.  I applaud this book; it is worthy of Laura Gibbs!

2022 Aesop's Fables: The Lion and the Mouse.  George Carvalho.  Pamphlet.  Miami: George Carvalho: Animaza Studios.  $9.95 from Amazon, Dec., '23.

This is a 24-page pamphlet consistent with and perhaps derived from a good short animated film available for watching on the internet.  Right-hand pages get a couplet the last word of which rhymes with the last word of the left-hand page's couplet.  The animation of the mouse concentrates on nose and ears.  Carvalho does several careful things with the traditional story.  The mouse does not run over the sleeping lion.  "If you let me go, I will one day repay you."  The resulting laugh is emphasized.  The lion does not release him because the mouse made him laugh.  He simply sends him home saying that he does not know how the mouse could help him. The lion promptly goes for a walk and is lifted up in a net.  In this version, the mouse says "Because you were kind to me, I have now repaid you."  "A kindness that is given, is a future kindness returned."  Carvalho does not have the mouse riding on the lion's mane.

2022 Bilingual Fairy Tales and Stories: Aesop's Fables.  Paperbound.  Las Vegas, NV: Bilingual Books House.  $13.49 from Amazon, April, '23

There is something careless about this otherwise helpful book.  For example, the cover's title for the book is different from the title-page's title: "3-Minute Illustrated Aesop’s Fables, Fairytales, and Stories."  The cover continues "35 Aesop's Fables About Kindness, Friendship, Confidence."  For each story, there is a lively full-page colored illustration on the left-hand page.  The right-hand pages features two columns with parallel English and Spanish prose texts for the fable.  I am sometimes curious about how Aesop is presented and how fables are told in a book like this for children.  I found surprises: Aesop was freed because he could read and write.  I have never heard that asserted before!  FG reveals to us that "Nothing good comes easy without hard work" (4).  The eagle dies from its own feather (14).  "Fox and Raven" speaks throughout about a crow (26).  BW has only one joke, and then "the boy did not realize that a wolf had come" (44).  I think that the boy realized it all too clearly!  The mother crab actually tries to walk straight (70).  In the last pages, the author speaks rather casually to readers and to his own family; however we never learn who he or she is!  76 pages.  8½" x 11".

2022 Fables de La Fontaine.  Illustrated by Catherine Meurisse.  Hardbound.  Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux - Grand Palais.  $20.71 from Momox through Amazon, Oct., '22.

One knows that one is in for some fun with the full-page illustration facing Meurisse's introduction: La Fontaine signs an autograph on the fox's round of cheese, as the crow sits on the fox's shoulder!  This is a thoroughly delightful presentation of La Fontaine.  It starts with two surprises, the first the choice of "Heron" to begin this presentation, with a typically haughty and disdainful bird.  The second surprise comes when we turn the page and find the distraught heron going after a snail!  OR (22-25) has a fine way of associating the bender and the breaker.  UP shows a thoroughly suspicious fox on 27.  I appreciate the subtlety of the dog's collar-issue in DW (46-49).  The outcome of "Rat and Oyster" is downright funny (59)!  The fox's expression and posture reveal everything in FG (62).  There is a T of C at the end of this delightful volume!  8½" x 13¼".

2022 Fables de Marie de France.  Traduites par Christian Demilly.  Fred L. Hardbound.  Talents Hauts.  €18.50 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '23.

How nice to see Marie have her day!  As the closing T of C shows, there are here 24 fables on 59 pages.  Generally right-hand pages are reserved for full-page colored illustrations that have no borders.  Left-hand pages often include a further symbol of the fable.  The artist pays special attention to headgear.  "The goshawk and the nightingale" (10-11) admonishes those invited to speak up to speak up.  DS (14-15) seems to involve some confusion about whether the dog sees in the water the moon or the image of his cheese.  A good example of the loveliness of design and its coherence with the text comes in "Le renard et la colombe" (28-29).  The dove counters the fox's claim of universal peace.  New to me is "The wolf and the hedgehog" (32-35).  The wolf abandons his partner once but then invites him back.  "Never" responds the hedgehog.  The two-page spread of wolf with hedgehog clinging to his chin might be the strongest in the book.  In Marie's telling, it is a camel who has not even noticed the presence of the flea (56-57).  The last fable, "Le voleur et les moutons," challenges those who let themselves be misused by an enemy (58-59).

2022 I. A. Krilov: Basni.  O. and A. Ivanov.  Hardbound.  Moscow: Rosmen.  $11.95 from internationaltoys.com through Ebay, May, '22.

This charming book offers 45 fables on 96 pages, as the closing T of C shows.  The front cover has a strong presentation of FG.  Those fox's paws look a lot like hands!  The cover proudly proclaims: "Works are printed without abbreviations!"  Noteworthy illustrations here include grandma monkey covered with eye-glasses (9); the bear who is too impatient working with wood and thus breaks branches (25); "Cook and Cat" (41); and WC (59).  There is a T of C at the end.

2022 Le Lièvre et la Tortue.  Jean de La Fontaine.  Illustrated by Thierry Dedieu.  Hardbound.  Paris: Seuil jeunesse.  €5.80 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '23.

Here is an extra-large format (9" x 13") book of 34 pages.  That we are in for something different is clear from the first images: The tortoise looks from the deck of a slow ship at the hare perched in something that is half airplane and half spaceship.  I would say that Dedieu deserves whatever room he demands because of the great work he has done in producing exquisite fable pop-up books.  Next we see the two competitors face to face.  Is the tortoise in a space-suit and the hare in an early pilot's uniform?  For the preparations that La Fontaine so easily dismisses we see the two combatants with a fox peering over a three-dimensional aeronautical or military planning table.  Next we see the rabbit outstripping dog fighter pilots who have shot down rabbits.  This is beloved craziness!  Images then show the hare letting the steamboat take its time; he has time to brood, nap, as we see him sleeping in a hammock.  He even plays mechanical chess with a robot and fishes for space-flying marine critters.  At last we see his aircraft at full speed, but alas too late!  Dedieu rightly emphasizes La Fontaine's particular view of this fable.  The hare had to make it interesting by starting late.  It is the perfect fable for students planning papers and writing them the day before the deadline.

2022 Les Fables de La Fontaine: 9 Pop-up Magiques.  Carolina Zanotti; translated by Cécile Breffort.  Illustrations by Elisa Bellotti.  Hardbound.  Vercelli: NuiNui Jeunesse.  €9.90 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '22.

Six fables displayed in lively fashion through nine strong, well-constructed pop-up pages.  My prizes go to the last two: to "La Belette entrée dans un grenier" for the hole in the barn allowing us to see inside and to OF for the frog that explodes out as one opens the page.  Other stories include GA; FG; TH; and "Le Loup devenu Berger."  Good imagination and great construction!  7¼" square.

2022 Les Fables d'Ésope: 8 Pop-up Magiques.  Carolina Zanotti, translated by Cécile Breffort.  Illustrations by Giulia Antonello.  Hardbound pop-up. Vercelli: Nuinui Jeunesse.  €11.90 from Gibert Joseph, Paris, June, '23.

The pop-ups here, with one exception, are well constructed.  TMCM has one fold that is too close to another, and they are already hurting each other.  Several of the pop-ups add two dimensions to the basic picture, like BW, DS, and TMCM.  The first fable, "The Bull and the Gnat," ends well with the bull thinking "Plus il sont petits, plus ils se croient grands."  This is a sturdy pop-up, nicely shrink-wrapped on the shelf in Gibert Joseph.  BW and DS grace the colorful covers.  Not every page features a pop-up, but every fable has at least one pop-up page.

2022 My First Look at Fables.  Rosie Banks.  Hardbound.  NY: Looking at Literature:  Gareth Stevens.  $22.60 from Amazon, April, '22. 

Eight short chapters within 24 pages handle subjects like "Stories That Teach"; "Aesop's Fables"; "The Panchatantra"; "Fables Today"; and "Your Turn!"  The front cover proclaims this a "leveled reader."  The set of six "Looking at Literature" booklets is presented on the back cover.  The second chapter offers BW as an example of an Aesopic fable.  The Panchatantra chapter tells of the rabbit who cleverly persuaded the elephants to leave the pond where they were stepping on his mates.  From Madagascar comes a fable about a slow chameleon who bests a hog (really a boar) by hanging onto his tail in the race. 

2022 Raccolta di varie favole, Vol. III-IV (Reprint).  Giorgio Fossati.  Paperbound.  Classic Reprints: Carlo Pecora/Skilled Books.  $19.11 from AbeBooks, Maiy, '23. 

I bought this and a second two-volume reprint to complement the three volumes that we bought of the first edition from 1744.  I notice that original volumes of Fossati's six are selling these days for about $1.750, and very few are available.  So I am happy to complete our set with these high quality reproductions from Classic Reprints.  Only the cover and the first page betray that these are reprints.  Otherwise we get what the original has to offer.  The illustrations are better done than in most reprints these days.  It strikes me that not only the stories but also the visual framework of the illustrations is highly traditional, the latter coming strongly from Gheeraerts.  Perhaps the most engaging illustration in Volume IV is of FM (21).  As in the original, illustration pages are not printed on the verso.  There is a bilingual T of C at the front of each of the two volumes in this reprint.  76 and 59 pages.  5⅜" x 8".

2022 Raccolta di varie favole, Vol. V-VI (Reprint).  Giorgio Fossati.  Paperbound.  Classic Reprints: Carlo Pecora/Skilled Books.  $19.11 from AbeBooks, May, '23.

I bought this and a second two-volume reprint to complement the three volumes that we bought of the first edition from 1744.  I notice that original volumes of Fossati's six are selling these days for about $1.750, and very few are available.  So I am happy to complete our set with these high quality reproductions from Classic Reprints.  Only the cover and the first page betray that these are reprints.  Otherwise we get what the original has to offer.  The illustrations are better done than in most reprints these days, though here many are too faint.  It strikes me that not only the stories but also the visual framework of the illustrations is highly traditional, the latter coming strongly from Gheeraerts.  Perhaps the most engaging illustrations here are, in Volume V, "Lion, Ass, and Fox" (20) and, in Volume VI, "Wolf and Woman" (4); "Oyster and Rat" (21); and "Cat on a Peg" (28).  As in the original, illustration pages are not printed on the verso.  There is a bilingual T of C at the front of each of the two volumes in this reprint.  At the end of the last volume there are several pages of "allegories" in the first two volumes, "as promised in the preface to the third volume."  59 and 36 pages.  5⅜" x 8".

2022 The Itchy Coo Book of Aesop's Fables in Scots.  Michael Morpurgo; various translators.  Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark.  First printing.  Hardbound.  Edinburgh: Black & White Publishing.  $15.99 from Book Depository through Amazon, August, '22.

This book is a lovely translation into Scots of "The Orchard Book of Aesop's Fables," published by Orchard Books in 2004.  Except for the translated texts -- which are not that far from colloquial English -- the books seem identical.  This text was published with support from the Scottish Government.  As I wrote of the English original, there are here twenty-one fables on 96 pages.  A great introduction tells the story of a man named Aesop leaving an old lion some stories.  The lion roars the next day and invites all the animals to hear stories.  They listen enthralled, but then fall asleep one by one.  By morning the lion has finished all of Aesop's fables, and he has also eaten all of the sleeping listeners!  TH has a lovely moral: "Speed isn't everything.  There are other ways of winning" (17).  The butcher here gives the dog the bone that he will lose in the river (18).  In my experience, it is hard to articulate a good moral for BC, and Morpurgo does it well: "Saying something should be done is one thing.  Doing it is often altogether more difficult" (29).  The moral for OR is: "Obstinacy may look like strength.  It rarely is" (67).  The shepherd boy in BW has just begun shepherding because his dad now thinks him old enough.  The wolf ends up eating him as well as the sheep (90).  For good examples of the book's lovely illustrations, try MSA (59-65).  Part of the excellence of this book again lies in its substantial paper stock, enhanced with nicely executed artwork.

2022 Told and Retold: Around the World with Aesop's Fables.  Retold and illustrated by Holly Berry.  First printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  NY: Philomel: Penguin Random.  $12.4 from EbooksWeb, Bensalem, PA, through Alibris, Nov., '22.

One usually does not speak of Aesop "around the world," and so I have been curious about this attractive, large-format (9¼" x 11¼") children's book of 32 pages.  The introduction supplies perspective: "many familiar stories that we call Aesop's fables are still being told around the world.  You may recognize some of these stories."  Berry is a linoleum block printmaker.  That may give a suggestion about the strong and highly personal style of these illustrations.  Berry's forms are strong and even massive.  Some sense of the drama may come from viewing the two-page spread, including two text-boxes, for the first fable, "The Heron."  That fable is ascribed to eastern North America; LM to East Africa; GA to East Asia; TH to southwest North America; FG to the Middle East and Asia; "The Bear and the Bees" to western South America; CP to southwest Europe; "Two Goats" to central-west Europe; and WC to North Asia.  Two-page spreads interrupt the sequence of stories, as though to give a reflective pause.  These pages show gatherings of the various animals mentioned in the fables.  The last of them pictures Aesop too, in the same pose as we find on the dust-jacket and front-cover.  GA receives an utterly positive spin.  The ants reconsider, thank the grasshopper for entertaining them, and pass her some food.  The grasshopper's summertime music helped them to work even harder than usual and to store extra food that they are now willing to share.  "The Bear and the Bees" is also well shaped.  The bear was about to eat berries when he noticed the beehive and began to nose around it.  A single bee stung him on the nose.  He lost his temper and attacked the whole hive.  He should have eaten the berries!

2022 Tortoise and Hare: A Fairy Tale to Help You Find Balance.  Susan Verde.  Illustrated by Jay Fleck.  First printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  NY: Abrams Books for Young Readers.  $17.99 from Green Apple Books, June, '22.

This pleasant presentation begins by contrasting the way the two main characters did things.  For Hare, there is always an "although."  "She planted her garden in a flash.  (Although sometimes she couldn't remember where she planted her tomatoes."  The same approach applies to Tortoise.  He planted his garden carefully "although sometimes he missed tomato season altogether."  He is so slow and methodical that he sometimes is still eating lunch at dinnertime!  Hare of course has a to-do list and checks things off as she completes them in a hurry.  Tortoise's lack of movement irritates Hare.  This may be the first time I have heard that the race would go from home to town.  In the race, Hare decides to take a quick nap.  Tortoise moves slowly in the meantime. "There was so much to see!"  As he smells flowers, friends politely remind him that he is in a race.  In a surprise turn of events, Tortoise greets the sleeping Hare.  The moment allows Hare to enjoy the moment.  They stay there together, back to back, looking at the stars and talking about their dreams.  In the morning, Hare asks Tortoise if he would like to go fast.  She puts him on her back.  Tortoise in his turn realizes that there are times when it is good to be fast.  After crossing the finishing line together, they help each other to moderate their extremes.  "It's good to have a friend to help you find the balance."  Fleck's final picture fits that moral well: Hare lying on her back supports Tortoise on her paws and legs.



2023 Some well known Fables selected and illustrated by Antonio Frasconi.  Lynn T. McRae.  First edition.  Paperbound.  Menlo Park, CA: Willow Arts Press.  $25 from Willow Arts Press through Amazon Marketplace, Jan., '24.

Here is an unexpected pleasure.  For some thirty years, I have had on my want-list Antonio Frasconi's "Some Well Known Fables," a set of woodblock prints published in 1950.  Now here is a large (9" x 12") presentation of the woodcuts from that even larger (11½" x 16") book.  I realize now that there is a reason why we will never have that book in this collection.  The original publication was of only 10 prints of the fifteen woodblocks: 12 fables, 2 title-pages, and "Aesop Tree," a tracing of various influences leading to the first published fable books in the late fifteenth century.  It is unclear whether Frasconi ever intended these prints to be a book.  In 1952, the Print Club of Cleveland chose to have 250 copies of one of the prints, "The Dog and the Crocodile," presented to its members.  At this time, Frasconi produced an additional set of 15 copies of the other prints in the portfolio.  So there are only 25 copies of individual prints, and perhaps very few complete collections of the 15 prints.  Getting one of those would be miraculous!  It is thus a thrill for me to have this presentation of those very rare prints.  His approach here is easy to recognize because of its similarities to his work in his two later fable works, both in our collection, "12 Fables of Aesop" and "Known Fables."  Frasconi works not to complement text but to tell the story in a woodblock.  A good example is SW (23), which contains the two contrasting scenes in one intricate and active image giving a strong sense of turbulent wind and swirling water.  Frasconi typically fills the whole frame.  Notice this tendency at work in MSA on 29.  The miller turns away awkwardly from his son to pay attention to a bystander in the upper right corner.  The predatory animals surround the victim sheep in "The Dog and the Sheep" (35).  46 pages.  A real treasure!

2023 The Fantastic Fables of Aesop.  Poems by Rob Crisell.  Illustrated by Jamie Nicole Jones.  Paperbound.  DePortola Press.  $10.21 from Half-Price Books, Nov., '23.

This is a refreshing book.  If it were a little less expensive, I would think of recommending it right after Milo Winter's "Aesop for Children" as a first fable book.  Crisell's rhyming verse is witty and surprising.  Jones' illustrations are creatively conceived and colorfully rendered.  There is generally one fable to a page, with a colored illustration.  The fox in FG (17) uses a pole vault in both the text and illustration!  GA (42) is unusually pointed: "The ants stored grain to keep themselves fed, But Grasshopper didn't.  Now Grasshopper's dead."  The moral may go in too many directions: "There's a time for work and a time for play, And music careers don't often pay."  The following fable improves on most of its tellings by substituting a girl for a boy and a man for a schoolmaster.  "You're right," said the girl.  "But save me today And lecture me tomorrow."  The last two pages of this publish-on-demand book list all thirty morals, also in verse.  8" x 10".

2023 The North Wind & the Sun.  Philip Stead.  First printing.  Dust-jacket.  Hardbound.  Neal Porter Books: Holiday House Publishing.  $13.94 from Half-Price Books, Nov., '23.

This book is an immediate favorite of mine!  It develops a fable the way a fable should be developed into a full story.  Stead uses crayon and colored pencil to give a gentleness to the story that fits perfectly with his depiction of the sun.  His elaboration of the story includes three sisters and their woolen coats.  His layout has the reader turn the book 90 degrees to see a tall picture of the sun looking down admiringly on the girls.  Then the reader has to turn the book 180 degrees to behold the angry wind's displeasure with them.  Stead's further elaborations are whistful.  The girls bid farewell to birds fleeing the wind.  Later, when sunshine returns, old women leave home to visit grandchildren, and old men pen overdue letters.  Stead gets the central turn of the story just right when he has the sun say to the angry wind "I can easily pull the coats from the sisters' backs."  Of course, the visual presentations of sun and wind are sharply contrasted.  Stead writes "I realized the art should instead be like the Sun, gentle, warm, and never saying more than is necessary."  Amen!  In a move unusual for books today, the dust-jacket has different art than the book's covers.  Unpaginated.  9¼" square.