cover image Crow & Fox and Other Animal Legends

Crow & Fox and Other Animal Legends

Jan Thornhill, Thornhill. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87428-5

Naturalist Thornhill takes her show on the road as she retells animal legends from around the world. Using a more vibrant palette than in her last book, A Tree in a Forest , Thornhill illustrates every tale, bordering each stylized, pattern-filled drawing with a motif indigenous to the fable's homeland. The stories are told in chain fashion: India's ``Elephant and Hare'' is followed by the West African ``Hare and Tortoise,'' after which comes ``Tortoise and Crane,'' from China. Since each animal is featured in two stories, the different--and similar--ways in which cultures perceive various creatures are ably demonstrated. Many of the tales explain the ``whys'' of animal appearance (e.g., why bears have short tails) while others are moral lessons a la Aesop's Fables . Thornhill's bare-bones narrative style allows the colorful stories to speak for themselves. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)