ANNO'S AESOP by Mitsumasa Anno
Kirkus Star


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The endlessly inventive Japanese illustrator amazes us yet again with his creative imagination. Here is a book within a book, its 7" x 8" cover displayed on the larger book's title page: it is a conventional Aesop with succinct texts, pithy morals, and lively illustrations. The pages of this "book" appear at the top of each double spread in the larger (8.5" x 10.5") book, framed in quiet buff with an alternate text appearing at the bottom. The second text is narrated to his son by Mr. Fox, who for some reason--perhaps, Anno hints, he speaks another language--doesn't read the "real" text but invents his own. The first (of 41) cleverly arrives at Aesop's moral by a different route, but that's only one of Anno's remarkable variations. He plays with numbers, logic, common sense, reflections, and familiar images (like Van Gogh's bridge); interprets from a fox's point of view; imagines concealed auxiliary characters; combines illustrations to make single new stories; and more, including reading "The North Wind and the Sun" as an ad for insurance. His illustrations are witty, economical, full of entrancing detail, and perfectly suited to the multiple interpretations. What a swell way to encourage imagination, verbal ability, and receptivity to new ideas!

Pub Date: April 1st, 1989
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Orchard
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