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adapted by John Cech & illustrated by Martin Jarrie

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4027-5298-8
Publisher: Sterling

Taking pride of place, Jarrie’s postmodern scenes of elegantly elongated animals and skinny-limbed humans comically grinning or grimacing over their various twists of fortune shoulder Cech’s 36 amiable retellings to the outer margins of the pages. Writing with severe brevity, the reteller mixes simply related versions of the usual chestnuts with less common—and not always canonically Aesopian—fables such as one about a wig-wearing “Bald Knight” (losing, oddly enough, not only a toupee but a cowboy hat in the picture). His morals don’t always make sense on their own—“Take just enough and you won’t get stuck,” concludes the tale of “The Mouse and the Weasel,” in which the mouse finds himself jammed, Winnie-the-Pooh–like, into a hole after gorging himself on corn—but they are generally incorporated smoothly into their mini-episodes. Jerry Pinkney’s collection (2000) is still the grandest of all, but readers who appreciate salutary lessons that are disbursed with a light touch may gravitate to this one. (afterword) (Folktales. 6-10)