Saturday, November 3, 2012

Aesop's fables retold by Beverley Naidoo illustrated by Piet Grobler

Many years ago a parent asked to borrow a book of Aesop’s fables from our school library.  Sadly all our collections at that time were verbose and uninspiring.  Ever since I have been on the lookout for new books of Aesop fables and so we now have a strong collection all told with simple language and a variety of illustrations. Here is a new edition of these famous tales that I will add to my school library.

Beverley Naidoo sets her collection in Africa.  “Aseop’s fables aren’t like fairy tales from Europe with ‘happily ever after’ endings.  They are more like traditional African stories.  Life is tough … and things can end badly for anyone who doesn’t watch out or use their wits!

My favourite Aesop fable is The lion and the mouse. This is the final fable of this collection which also includes The Cat and the mice (Once bitten twice shy), The lion and the warthog (It’s safer to be friends than enemies), The mosquito and the lion (Pride comes before a fall) and The Farmer and his children (Work is the real treasure).

Piet Grobler has added scrumptious illustrations to each page along with decorative borders.  I especially like the hand drawn font he has used for each title.  It may be a while since you read an Aesop Fable but can I recommend you revisit them.  They are ideal for reading aloud, they are short, often heroic and always wise. In this special collection you are sure to discover some old favourites along with some that may be new.  Beverley Naidoo spoke about this book at the IBBY congress.

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