Monday, 10 June 2013

Aesop's Fables by Michael Rosen and Talleen Hacikyan (Tradewind Books)

Books are often so beautifully presented and stunning to look at that they become art forms in their own right, even before you lift the cover and delve inside.

The moment we saw Michael Rosen's treatment of Aesop's Fables, clad in its utterly stunning covers (by Talleen Hacikyan), we knew this would be a book we'd be able to enjoy for years to come.

When I was a lad, I had an Aesop's Fables collection, a paperback that was illustrated in that bizarre 70s art style that looked like a cross between Picasso and Dali. In this Aesop collection, the dark and stunning illustrations are the perfect counterpoint to the respun versions of the well-loved fables.

Best of all, this is a nice thick tome but broken down into a page-a-story format, so you can chip away at the stories each night before bedtime, even if time's at a premium - or do what we did and enjoy them all, one after the other, in one glorious gulp!

Fables such as The Lion, The Spider and the Mosquito and The Dog and the Wolf are here, each with a valuable life lesson underpinning the (mostly animal) based stories.

We've previously said we find a lot of Rosen's work fabulous for adults but not always a great hit with children. This is perfect though, as each story is sensitively and expertly given a new lease of life in Rosen's trademark perfect prose style. There's a rather nice little biog at the back too if children want to discover more about Aesop themselves.

For us though, the star of the show is those illustrations. They practically leap off the page to run around all over your desk. Many books can be considered 'keepers' - books you can imagine passing down from generation to generation and this is definitely such a book. It's released on 13th June so you won't have long to wait till you can slide between those deliciously illustrated covers and rediscover the genius of Aesop yourself.

Charlotte's best bit: The story of the Fox, the Wolf and the Lion (which is actually a bit gruesome, eek!)

Daddy's favourite bit: The story of the Trees and the Woodcutters.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Tradewind Books)