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PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

Fox and Grapes by Darryl FunkHow is it that fables are still so popular? In searching the library database Books in Print, which lists books currently published, you can find over 6,000 books that concern fables in some shape or form. Writers and artists still draw from the tales of old.

Our illustration this month features the work of one such artist, Darryl Funk. Mr. Funk is a freelance illustrator in Canada who does work for a children's magazine called Zamoof! And he drew a lovely piece featuring the Fox and the Grapes. When asked about why he used a fable for inspiration he said, "For me I think that it's kind of like going back to the beginning. These fables are the basic building blocks for storytelling. The simple, moral lessons are as valid today as they were way back then. I'm sure most modern stories have just taken that information and expanded upon it."

The longevity of fables may be because they were intended to be cautionary tales for dangers which are timeless. They were told to warn those who are weaker and to provide advice on a means of escape from difficult situations - some advice being good and some bad. Perhaps that is why fables are so popular as children's books. They are constants to which both adults and children can relate.

Read more: PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

Ants and Grasshopper image from Project GutenbergAs winter approaches we find ourselves taking stock of our cabinets and ourselves. Many of us will be cashing in food for fines over the next few days. As we do this we ask ourselves, "Do we have enough to last the colder season? Have we done enough to help those around us?"

The December, Children’s Fable Podcast, features a classic tale which touches on the above themes – in the ancient and modern telling.  Most of us know the tale of the Grasshopper and the Ants from the 1934 Walt Disney Silly Symphony  telling. In this version the hard working Ants show compassion for their idle Grasshopper neighbor and share food and shelter during the harsh cold season. In exchange the Grasshopper must earn his keep and entertain the Ants with his fiddle playing.

Read more: PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

Illustration of mouse freeing lionThis month's fable, read by the Moore Public Library's Children Department staff, is The Lion and the Mouse. When the western world thinks of fables, Aesop is the name which springs to mind for many. But if it wasn't for Gaius Iulius Phaeder in Pieria, aka Phaedrus, we may not think of fables as we do today.

Phaedrus translated Aesop’s Fables from Greek into Latin and put them in a poetic form. He compiled them in the first collection of fables ever published as literature. He did more than create a compilation of Aesop’s tales, he refined and rewrote the fables in a Greek poetry style, called iambic senarii. He also included some of his own fables using “the old form but with modern content”, some say to fight against moral degradation during the time of Emperors Augustus and Tiberius.

Read more: PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

Dog and His Reflection. Bernard Salomon: Aesop Cycle (1547)According to Great Lives from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory–476 c.e., Aesop lived in the sixth century b.c.e (before common era). If the biography written about him is even partially true, he lived a life more fanciful than all of his fables combined.

He came from Thrace, an area in southeast Europe; was a slave on the Greek island of Samos and was released from slavery for being too much trouble; was described by his biographer as "very ugly, worthless as a servant, potbellied, snub-nosed, swarthy, short-armed, squinted-eyed and liver-lipped"; and was known, as far away as Babylon, for his verbal prowess.

Read more: PLS Presents: Children's Fable Podcast

PLS Presents: Graphic Novels & Comics Interview with Dr. Buffy Edwards

Photo of hand holding comic bookMay 2, 2009 is Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). FCBD is an organized effort to introduce readers of all ages to comic books and graphic novels. Your hometown libraries will be giving away a limited supply of free comics on May 2, to anyone who checks out a book from the teen collections.

In honor of FCBD the Virtual Library interviewed Dr. Buffy Edwards, adjunct instructor at the University of Oklahoma in the College of Education and School of Library and Information Studies, about her research in motivating reading in middle school students.

Dr. Edwards spoke with us about her research regarding motivation, middle school students, and comic books and graphic novels. She explains how the students' test scores improved while reading material presented in this particular literary format along with engaging in "free voluntary reading".

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