cover image Fables from Aesop

Fables from Aesop

Tom Lynch, Aesop. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-88948-8

Using fabric collages, debut author/ artist Lynch stitches together a smorgasbord of fables into a colorful picture book quilt. He's rounded up a baker's dozen of the parables and presents them in a format that's short and sweet--one per double-spread--each ending with ""So remember!"" and a pithy moral. The succinct retellings and large type make them appropriate for an audience just beginning to read on their own. Many of the familiar fables contain easy-to-follow lessons, such as the fox and the thirsty goat (""Look before you leap""). However, the lessons of lesser-known parables may elude younger readers--such as the tale of Zeus refusing a wedding gift from a snake (""Never accept the offerings of a villain,"" when nothing in the tale suggests the snake's evil intentions) or the tale of a caged songbird and a bat (""Regrets and precautions are useless after misfortune has come""). Still, the sprightly needlework (the embroidery on the peacock is stunning) enhances each scene and may well inspire readers to meet the challenge of a few more sophisticated tales. The artwork, rendered in bright scraps of fabric, maintains a homespun feel in keeping with the fables' humble origins, and preschoolers will especially enjoy the assorted animal characters who tumble across the pages. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)