adapted by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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The coarsely stitched fabric collages illustrating these 13 retold fables aren’t all that’s patchy about Lynch’s picture-book debut. He writes with an informality that can be engaging: “ ‘Hold on there,’ said the Tortoise. ‘I’ll bet if we had a race I would win!’ ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ laughed the Hare. ‘Okay, slowpoke, let’s go!’ ” Unfortunately, the informal writing is sometimes just amateurish—Aesop “was freed by his masters on account of his intelligence”—and it mixes in too-sketchy renditions of several lesser-known fables. Readers will scratch their heads over Zeus’s seemingly unprovoked condemnation of Snake in “The Unwelcome Guest,” or the story of a fox who grows too fat to escape after gobbling a shepherd’s lunch. Oddly, this is billed as a lesson in patience rather than greed. Confusing, too, is the awkwardly worded final moral: “A false appearance, no matter how believable, is no match for the real thing.” At its best, the art shows a fresh, lively sense of color and design, but that too varies. Clumsy work next to the likes of Sogabe’s elegant Aesop’s Fox (1999) or Cuyler’s Roadsigns: A Harey Race with a Tortoise (p. 957). (Picture book/folktale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-670-88948-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2000