Aesop’s Fables features more than 200 fables, specially selected for young readers and beautifully illustrated with engravings and color plates by Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane, and Ernest Griset. It includes all of the classic fables whose titles and morals have become part of our common cultural vocabulary, among them “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The City Mouse and the Country Mouse,” “The Dog in the Manger,” and “The Fox and the Grapes.” Part fairy tale, part fantasy story, part parable with a lesson to impart, each of these fables is a polished gem of storytelling craft whose luster never dulls. Aesop’s Fables is one of Barnes & Noble’s Collectible Editions classics. Each volume features authoritative texts by the world’s greatest authors in an exquisitely designed foil-stamped binding, with distinctive gilt edging and an attractive ribbon bookmark. Decorative, durable, and collectible, these books offer hours of pleasure to readers young and old and are an indispensable cornerstone for any home library.
Huge, extravagantly designed and detailed pop-up illustrations for 10 classic cautionary tales showcase a trio of uncommon talents. Beatrice and Whatley collaborate seamlessly on the visuals, producing in traditional outdoor or rural settings a cast of realistic but broadly expressive animal figures. Many of these, particularly the wonderfully snarky-looking goose laying gold-foil eggs and the frantic, massive lion that lunges up at viewers through an entangling net as his spread opens, will elicit involuntary ‘Whoas’ of startled admiration. The fables, one per opening except for a miraculously un-crowded quintet gathered on the central spread, are paired to large central tableaux and smaller but only slightly less complex pop-ups in corner booklets. All are pithy versions of the usual Aesopian suspects written in a fluid, contemporary style (‘You do indeed have a beautiful voice,’ the fox assures the cheeseless crow, ‘but you don’t seem to have a brain!’) with some morals embedded and others laid out explicitly. Veteran paper engineer that he is, Moerbeek concocts ingeniously multilayered, interwoven constructions that are vulnerable to grabby little hands but, with careful supervision, sturdy enough to survive multiple shared readings. Timeless wisdom, splendidly decked out. —Kirkus Reviews
This book makes good use of the format to showcase 10 traditional tales. Five of the fables are presented on handsomely illustrated spreads, each including a dramatic 3-D sculpture that takes center stage and two smaller foldouts embellished with movable parts that contain the bulk of the text. Whether it’s a smug-looking goose spreading her wings and lording it over a golden egg, a crow perched atop a tree clasping a piece of cheese in her beak while a hungry fox looks greedily on from below, or a rope-tangled lion that seems to bound right off the page, each centerpiece pop-up does an excellent job of grabbing readers’ attention and drawing them into the story. In each case, a foldout or pull-tab animal cleverly incorporated into the scene can be manipulated to reveal the tale’s moral. Five more fables, including ‘The Wind and the Sun,’ ‘The Dog and His Bone,’ and ‘Two Travelers and a Bear,’ are presented in a single spread via mini booklets. Throughout, rich earthy hues, lush forest landscapes, and vivid detail make the illustrations appealing. The straightforward text aptly conveys the gist of each tale, and a brief section offers background about Aesop. Share this book aloud to introduce these well-known fables but be prepared to hand it over to children eager to explore the delightfully detailed and fairly sturdy pop-up pages on their own. —SLJ, September 2011