Reach & Read: 1492 and 40 Fun Fables

Forty Fun Fables: Tales that Trick, Tickle and Teach by Mitch Weiss and Martha Hamilton

This is an easy to read book of re-told fables, although not ‘fun’ like I hoped given tickle in the title. Content is directed at younger readers, there are some illustrations  and each tale provides the ‘moral of the story’ (pfew!) and has a nice section in the back with activities and ideas for parents and teachers, with some emphasis on how to apply to Common Core Standards. There are activities like turning them into small plays etc. None of the lessons are big life, leadership lessons nor how you might explain the ‘key learning ‘to your child. Example “It’s good to be nice, but watch your back.” Rather than consider this a no-go on reading this book, use it as the starting point for conversation. This means these fables as opposed to other books I have reviewed, are better aimed a older children, maybe 7-10 years old?  Although this might be best used a classroom book as there are better fable collections out there that might inspire more thinking and action in children and/or more fun to read together.

But, in staying true to intent, my favorite fable in this book, titled the Happy Man with Holes in His Bucket, reminds us that “you will be happier if you look for the good in a situation.” Thank you for the complementary copy in exchange for my honest review August House.

It also reminds me of a talent show performance (am I remembering this right?) in years gone way by of the tune, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket”…..  totally different message or the story after the man in the fable got married to Liza?


A few days late for Indigenous People Day, but, that is just how it happens. Due  in part to the fact that I do not work for the government and go to great lengths to avoid physically entering a bank so it wasn’t  a day off for me but mostly it is delayed due to hashtag life.

Interesting collection of stories, meant to be read in succession/entirety but still enjoyable in bits and pieces. The authors did a thorough job telling more of the story around 1492, correcting many of the falsehoods ‘we’ hold today regarding the memorable year. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…..” yes, true but there was a whole lot more going not that didn’t necessarily rhyme with blue (forget about flu). But this is not a historical fact repository rather an illustration of the power of storytelling in carrying communities and cultures forward.

This book has stories of various length and prose, some read more like poems, others are vignettes. The collection about the Canary Islands has me adding this destination to my vacation wish list but my favorite story, is the one about Black and Yellow (p. 175). I love all things bees especially this story is about the origin of the happy honeybee. Using magic and a desire to connect two disparate communities the Wise Man mixed up the work hard village (black) with the play hard village (yellow)  to create the black and yellow honey bee colony of today. Only part I am not sure I believe is the one about the tiny guitars (wink wink).  This text is thorough and would make a great class room resource or reference for a middle school history buff (or older). Thank you for the complementary copy in exchange for my honest review August House.


Other Fables and Folklore Tales on this site:

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