Words, Beasts & Fishes
. Faber and Faber Limited, . London
PR6007.I77 W6 1936 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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A wonderful surprise. This book has been sitting around for almost two years, and I have finally had the chance to enjoy it. The flyleaf describes these twenty-one verse tales as witty and accomplished Fables, after the celebrated model provided by Mr. John Gay. They are witty, pointed, satirical, and delightful--to my mind far more fun than Gay's. There is here a touch of Hugo Gellert when the fables deal with social issues. The off-rhymes work, as does the directness that has us learning, in the words of the first fable, To smell ourselves as others smell us. Webb's art is strong; it reminds me of Robert Lawson's work from the same era. The best fables are The Pole Cat's Problem (11) and The Dancing Elephant (81). Other fine examples include Mothercraft (27), Philosophy off the Peg (45), The Ant and the Sloth (59), Decadence (63), 'Ware Wolves (69), and The Drake's Progress (77).