This sophisticated collection of 12 fables is a coffeetable picture-book, of most immediate appeal to adults but intriguing enough to draw a puzzled child back to sort out its meaning. Lewis' rather formal prose suggests the stories' antiquity and their myriad versions. The long, rather philosophical morals, in verse, are more contemporary: e.g., when a man and a lion both observe a statue of a man vanquishing a lion, the lion remarks that a lion's version would differ. Moral: ""Most arrogant of beasts is man. . ."" Castle's handsome, mannered illustrations echo various styles with medieval perspective, classical architecture, oddly modern robes, and surreal foliage. His muted palette of gold and green has occasional startling areas of brighter color; he also uses a variety of interesting textures; and his sculptural figures seem congealed in time. An uncommon book with a pronounced individuality, appropriate for older children or for sharing--but not with preschoolers.