Tuesday 31 December 2013

Wow! nice reviews for my Aesop's Fables illustrated (wonderfully) by Talleen Hacikyan

Publishers Weekly 09/23/2013
Versatile storyteller Rosen (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) distills 13 well-known Aesop’s fables into one-page retellings, illustrated in folk-art style by Canadian artist Hacikyan. Rosen engages the stories’ grimmer aspects, and Hacikyan’s stylized illustrations, chalked on black backgrounds, suggest troublesome dreams on moonless nights. In “Dog and Wolf,” a wolf with an empty stomach eyes a “sleek and fat” dog’s collar and snarls, “I’d rather be free than a well-fed slave.” In “Cockerel, Dog and Fox,” a treed rooster protects himself by asking the predator to wake his “Doorman” (“So Fox woke up Dog. And Dog snarled and snapped and tore Fox apart quicker than it takes a leaf to fall from a tree”). Rosen supplies morals tailored for today’s cultures of bullying and savvy social interactions. When Fox praises Crow’s voice, so that Crow opens his mouth and drops a piece of cheese, Rosen remarks that sneaky individuals use compliments “just so they can get something from you.” If there is but cold comfort in these pages, the fables should still provide fodder for conversation. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Resource Links"
School and public libraries that need Aesop stories for a younger audience should purchase this attractive book."

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
This new set of thirteen tales comes with familiar stories such as “The Mouse and Lion,” in which the small rodent aids the big lion. It also includes lesser-known stories, and Michael Rosen adds his own interpretation to the morals of all of these tales. Rosen keeps the stories lively by having actual conversations with the stories’ main characters. In “Dog and Wolf,” the exchange between them tells of freedom’s lesson that it is better than a well-kept but chained life. In one of the better stories, “Frog and Bull,” the frog gets an unseen group to help compare his size to a bull’s. The frog literally bursts in his attempt to outdo the bull. Each story features one large illustration that has a childlike feel and is set against a black background. In many of the tales, the illustrations add life to a fairly routine tale. This collection could perhaps use less of Rosen’s interpretation of the morals. Also, the stories do not have any organization to them; although this does not distract, it does not help keep a reader’s interest. The collection’s slim size and intriguing chalklike illustrations help this book stand out from other Aesop fables. Mid-elementary or early middle school teachers might find it intriguing to have their students compare Rosen’s version of Aesop’s morals with more traditional versions. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk AGERANGE: Ages 6 to 10.

School Library Journal11/01/2013
Gr 1–3—Proud or foolish animals often meet unfortunate ends in this baker's dozen of familiar and less-often-told tales. "In a moment, Lion's friends set upon Wolf and skinned him alive." Fox eyeing the just-out-of-reach grapes, the mice from town and country, and Mouse rescuing Lion are here. Two tales-"Fir Tree and Thornbush" and "The Axe and the Trees"-feature plant life rather than the customary animals. Three tales place a trio of characters in contention. All are told in well-paced prose incorporating contemporary phrasing, such as, "Hey, look out there, Lamb, you're muddying up the water." However, the morals are not as sprightly and are prone to lengthy explanation. "If someone stronger than yourself is attacking you, or if you think someone is trying to get the better of you with clever words, then go and get help from someone who can defend you." Hacikyan's full-page views reflect her fine skill as printmaker. The simple, naive characters are richly shaded, expressive, and energetic as they interact in nicely etched, usually dark, settings. Though the lessons seem turgid here, the handsome scenes and deftly told stories are welcome additions to the realm of Aesop.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

Kirkus Reviews2013-09-15
Prolific Brit Rosen and Canadian artist Hacikyan deliver 13 of the legendary fabulist's moral vignettes. Familiar fables such as "Mouse and Lion" and "Town Mouse and Country Mouse" accompany lesser-known parables. Rosen's plainspoken telling engages children with injected humor. In "Frog and Bull," Frog is impressed with Bull's huge size. "It's bigger than a hundred frogs. I'm only as big as its eyeball. Oooh, how I would like to be as big as Bull." Frog gulps air to puff himself up, addressing an unseen child chorus: "Hey children, how am I doing? Am I as big as Bull?" Not even close, they respond, and Frog continues to gulp with predictably disastrous results. Rosen conveys the morals pithily. In "Lion, Fox and Wolf," Fox (to put it mildly) outsmarts Wolf, who's been disparaging him to Lion behind his back. "If you plot and scheme against other people, you'll probably end up with them plotting against you." Hacikyan's accomplished dry-brushed acrylics, luminous against black fields, incorporate handprinted leaves and textile block patterns, bespeaking her acumen as a printmaker. The leafy endpapers are stunning. Incorporating a vain crow, opportunistic wolves and foxes, talking trees and more, this collection both instructs and charms. (scholar's note)(Fables. 5-10)