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MICE, MORALS, and MONKEY BUSINESS by Christopher Wormell Kirkus Star


Lively Lessons From Aesop’s Fables

by Christopher Wormell & illustrated by Christopher Wormell

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7624-2404-4
Publisher: Running Press

Relegating the actual texts of 21 fables to an appendix, Wormell presents a suite of full-page color woodcuts to illustrate them, captioned with titles and morals alone, and printed on buttery paper that really sets off the strong lines and gorgeous hues. His animal portraits are, as usual, a visual feast. The foolish camel and peacock both exude no less nobility than the stately lion or the dignified tortoise; both the wolf in sheep’s clothing and the ass in the lion’s skin are well-disguised enough to draw double takes from viewers; and every creature here, even the ant and the grasshopper, seems larger than life. The fables at the end, each of which comes with a thumbnail of the larger illustration, stick, with minor modifications, to the 19th-century Townsend translations, and so convey each lesson with a formality appropriate to the art. Not suited to being a child’s first Aesop, but likely to be the one he or she lingers over longest. (Picture book/folktales. 5-10)