Cover of A Sip of Aesop by Jane Yolen

A Sip of Aesop

Since I have always loved the Aesopian fables, putting together this collection of rhymed versions of my favorites was a total joy. Scholastic paired me with the irrepressible Karen Barbour who worked on the book after having a baby. There is always a question of whether to put this book alphabetically under A or S. Since the pun only works with the A in front (A sip/Aesop) I prefer it under A.

There was a poster when the book came out–now long gone. I did an entire project online with kids through the Scholastic network in which classrooms sent me their own fables in rhyme and I critiqued them–in rhyme! The book was on the 1997 Kentucky Bluegrass Master List.

What reviewers have said:

  • “… delivers each story’s moral with a humorous twist” — Ingram
  • *STARRED* “Yolen and Barbour prove a dynamite pairing in this splashy picture book. Here they jazz up a baker’s dozen of Aesop’s much-loved fables, most of which are familiar (“The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” “The Grasshopper and the Ants,” “The Lion and the Mouse”), along with a few quirkier choices (“The Frog and the Ox,” “The Tortoise and the Eagle”). Yolen sets the fables to verse, and clever verse it is, neatly distilling the essence of Aesop into a series of quatrains. Studded with outrageous puns (“The Fox and the Grapes,” for instance, ends with this moral: “High or low/ Upon the vine,/ Sour grapes/ Make an awful whine”), the rhymes can’t help but spark smiles all around. Barbour (Little Nino’s Pizzeria) dives wholeheartedly into the spirit of the literary renovation, dipping her brush in the hot colors of the Caribbean-teal, fuchsia, parrot green, chili pepper red. Flamboyantly surreal, her artwork is focused, yet alive with activity. This one’s a winner in every way, and could easily outdistance the competition to become the best-loved Aesop on the shelf.”–Publisher’s Weekly
  • “(Yolen) converts 14 fables into light-hearted verse, and the result is appealing.. .”–Philadelphia Inquirer

Both editions are in print.