I love fables. They give a good story while teaching good life lessons. Natalie Portman has taken three well-known fables and has rewritten them to add a respect the earth message as well. Natalie Portman’s Fables retell the stories of three popular stories. Come, let’s learn more in this review. Affiliate links will be used.
What you Get
Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan, has published this 64 page, hardcover tome I am reviewing for Raincoast books. It has been delightfully illustrated by Janna Mattia.
The three stories brought forth for retelling are
- The Tortoise and the Hare
- The Three Little Pigs
- Country Mouse and City Mouse
Natalie Portman stays true to the story, but just adds the odd twist using a rhyming meter that is easy to read. The intended audience is children 4-6 years old.
Natalie Portman’s Fables, the details
I LOVE the illustrations. They do so much to help tell the story. You can sense the fear, see slyness, joy, sadness and happiness, observe the horrors of pollution, and just enjoy a well-illustrated book.
The fables are written in rhyming couplets making it fairly easy to read. Not all words were necessarily easy to pronounce, so I would suggest if you are reading with a group of children to give the book a good read-aloud first. 🙂
The font size I think is better for sitting down with a child to read, or giving to a first or second grader to read themselves.
I enjoyed the use of words I don’t normally see in a book intended for a young audience like thrum, meekness, braggart, squatter and pioneering. I love introducing new words to children and having talking points in books is a most excellent thing.
You’ll find lots of colour through, with ample use of white space when able. Overall a well done book.
Should you get it?
I don’t know. The illlustrations and rhyming couplets make Natatlie Portman’s Fables an easy read, and I like how the author takes the known to add an element of newness. At times it felt too “sweet” for my tastes. The danger was taken out of The Three Little Pigs story, which made it feel like it was kinda missing some of the point. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag, which is part of the danger in retelling the story. It’s good to use the old to help teach the new, but you need to be careful not to lose too much of the old as you do it. 🙂
I got to thinking about this and thought huh, this might be an interesting concept to use with middle or high school students. Teach about how to help the planet, then read these stories and issue a challenge to your students. The challenge: how they might change a children’s story to include a” help the earth component”. Wouldn’t that be an interesting writing challenge?
For more writing challenges, visit SchoolhouseTeachers.com!