THE TURTLE AND THE TWO DUCKS: Animal Fables Retold from La Fontaine by Patricia & David Bergman--Adapt. Plante

THE TURTLE AND THE TWO DUCKS: Animal Fables Retold from La Fontaine

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Eleven classic La Fontaine fables, each deployed--with lots of pictorial matter--on one or two or three longitudinal pages. So the book looks like a picture book, and that brings up one of its problems: the tales (""The Fox and the Grapes,"" ""The Grasshopper and the Ant,"" etc.) are so brief, and so condensed, and so fully pictured all-at-once as to give a younger child little experience of a story: little chance to identify with the characters (who, in any case, have no individuality), little chance to perceive the implications of the various situations. The adaptors, moreover, sometimes place the morals at the start of the tales, and it's fairly common knowledge that the morals are the last things that young children care about. Thus, ""The Turtle and the Rabbit"" begins: ""If you're going to finish first, you have to keep going. That's the lesson that the turtle taught the rabbit."" And that illustrates the next-to-last of the book's problems: the fables are rendered woodenly, with no felicity of style and no regard, in particular, for the direct address that's most effective with the young. The last problem is that the pages are so crowded with pictorial detail as to obscure the simple point of the tales. It's a decorative little item, and undoubtedly would be picked up; but the single picture-book versions of some of these same stories have much more staying power.

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 1981
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell