Told and Retold: Around the World with Aesop’s Fables

Philomel. Aug. 2022. 32p. retold by Berry, Holly, retel. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593351529.
Gr 1-3–Nine of Aesop’s fables, most of which will be familiar to readers, are retold in this lovely offering. Each entry is given its own page with the text featured inside small white rectangular boxes. The remainder of the space is colorfully illustrated with hand-carved linoleum block prints. The featured fables include the familiar “The Lion and the Mouse,” “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” and “The Tortoise and the Hare,” along with not-often-adapted “The Fox and the Grapes,” “The Bear and the Bees,” and more. Each spread also mentions the fable’s country of adaptation. Toward the end of each selection, a question is posed about how the main character feels about the choice they made in the story, “Did Grasshopper sit in the cold listening to her empty stomach growl? Yes, she did!” increasing audience engagement. Front matter has an introduction that explains more about oral storytelling and Aesop himself. Each fable ends with a lesson and focuses on food or drink for the respective animal. The friendly characters are illustrated charmingly, in a style reminiscent of D’Aulaires’s books.
VERDICT A fresh take on fables with a central theme, this is a recommended purchase for those wishing to update their folktale collections.

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