Aesop’s Fables (illus. by Don Daily)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Aesop’s Fables, illustrated by Don Daily, a board book collection including some of Aesop’s most famous and popular tales.

Little readers can be introduced to classic fables such as “The Fox and the Grapes”, a tale of spite for the things we can’t have; “The Tortoise and the Hare”, a timeless lesson in patience, perseverance, and overconfidence; “The Crow and the Pitcher”, a instruction in ingenuity; and more.

Hard to go wrong with a classic. Aesop’s fables were some of my favorites growing up, and it’s nice to see them adapted for younger audiences here. Of the nine fables included, there’s a nice cross-section of lessons about greed, pride, and accepting others. Some of stories have definitely been sanitized for little bookworms (such as the stag from “The Stag and His Antlers” escaping the hunters at the end). The exception is the Golden Goose, who still meets his grisly end, yet offscreen and not in great detail. Daily’s illustrations meticulously recreate the fables in classic storybook style, and his lifelike animals still manage to express emotion and charm. It’s a longer read than most board books if done all at once (JJ was getting antsy by the penultimate story), but the episodic nature of the layout easily allows for the fables to be read one or two at a time if preferred. A fine adaptation of a few fundamental tales, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Little Ant And The Butterfly (S.M.R. Saia)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Ant And The Butterfly, written by S.M.R. Saia and illustrated by Tina Perko, a modernization of the classic fable by Aesop.

Little Ant is very proud to be an ant, which is quite obviously the best type of insect to be. He works hard, can lift very heavy things, and has many different special ant tricks to help him find food and home. After finding a cake crumb one day, he happens by a friendly, slow-moving caterpillar. Incensed by how lazy and unmotivated he perceives the caterpillar to be (compared to his industrious nature), he scolds her for not going fast, and not searching out food beyond the leaves and grass around her. The caterpillar takes this in stride, mentioning that she is working towards betterment in her own way. These interactions continue, culminating in the ant chastising the caterpillar as she wraps herself in a thick blanket for an extended sleep. Soon, however, the ant runs into the caterpillar one more time – and is very surprised to find that she has gone through some major changes.

Very nice! Self-published books can often vary pretty wildly in quality, but this one definitely one of the best we’ve read so far! I loved the modern take on a classic and timeless lesson about not being judgmental and showing respect to others, along with some cool facts about ants and butterflies for young readers. The texts reads well, and the story is entertaining yet concise, much like the original. The illustrations are minimalist, but very expressive, and define the characters’ emotions well. My only complaint was that the ending was a little abrupt, but otherwise, this was a neat story with a good length, and JJ and I really enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)