Apr. 17th, 2017

osprey_archer: (books)
Arnold Lobel is most famous for his Frog & Toad books (shout out to my fellow Frog & Toad fans!), but Fables is the one that he won the Caldecott Award for in 1981. It's fun! I thought it might be just a retelling of Aesop's fables, but actually Lobel has invented new fables of his own, which I rather enjoyed. I think my favorite is about the cat who spent a whole day fishing without catching anything, progressively moderating his dreams of a giant fish dinner with lemon juice and butter sauce down to a tiny little guppy with just a driblet of lemon - only to catch a gigantic fish just when he was about to give up.

The moral? "All's well that ends with a good meal." Hard to argue with that!

Some of the morals are more serious than that ("A child's conduct will reflect the ways of his parents") and some of it I'm not quite sure I agree with - "When one is a social failure, the reasons are as clear as day" - because I think that is the sort of thing that is only clear to everyone else. Of course the Crane doesn't want to invite the Pelican back to tea after the Pelican spilled the sugar and the cream and gobbled up all the cookies, but just as clearly the Pelican has no idea that this is why, as he sighs, "I seem to have no friends at all." Oh Pelican. Maybe you should have at least offered to help clean up your spills.

The illustrations are charming - very Lobelian, for lack of a better term. There's one story with frogs where the frogs do indeed look very much like Frog of Frog and Toad, which as you can imagine makes it rather alarming when the silly frogs get eaten at the end. ("The highest hopes may lead to the greatest disappointments." I guess there's nothing as disappointing as getting eaten by a snake.)

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