Here are my top sixteen titles of fables, guaranteed to delight your students.
Be sure to subscribe above if you want an email telling you I have posted a new category. I also accept category requests from teachers looking for books to support their curriculum.
All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.
Aesop’s Fables. Beverley Naidoo. Frances Lincoln, 2011.
The book starts with the author’s interesting theory that Aesop was African and this is why many of the animals in the fables are African. She retells 16 fables, setting them in South Africa. Beautifully told and illustrated. Picture Book.
Aesop’s Fables. Jerry Pinkney. SeaStar Books, 2000.
Pinkney does a fabulous job retelling and illustrating 60 fables. His magnificent illustrations bring the characters to life. Full of charm and wit and rich language. Picture Book.
Aesop’s Fables. Brad Sneed. Dial Books, 2003.
Retold in modern language, these 15 fables will capture student’s interest with their colorful, expressive illustrations. Picture Book.
The Dragon’s Tale : And Other Animal Fables of the Chinese Zodiac. Demi. H. Holt, 1996.
A fable for each of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac are succinctly told and beautifully illustrated. Picture Book.
Fables. Arnold Lobel. Harper Collins, 1983.
This collection of original fables told and illustrated by Lobel show the foolishness and humor in the characters foibles. It was an ALA Notable Book the year it was published.
Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop. Amy Lowry. Holiday House, 2012.
Lowry cleverly creates one longer story by seamlessly combining four Aesop fables:
The Fox and the Grapes, The Fox and the Crow, The Fox and the Goat, The Fox and the Stork. The four morals are listed on the back page along with a nice paragraph about fables and Aesop. Charmingly illustrated. Picture Book.
The Gift. Kristine L. Franklin. Chronicle Books, 1999.
Wise Fish Woman takes young Jimmy Joe fishing so he can catch his first giant Chinook salmon. The Great Wolves of the Sea (whales) are also hunting for salmon.
Jimmy decides to return his fish to the sea for the whales. Picture Book.
I, Doko : The Tale of a Basket. Ed Young. Philomel, 2004.
In this Nepalese fable, a basket tells it’s life story with three generations of a family.
Folktails : Animal Legends from Around the World. Jan Thornhill. Maple Tree Press, 2006.
Nine short fables, one from each continent, are linked together by a common animal. The first is Elephant and Hare from India, followed by Hare and Tortoise from West Africa. Then Tortoise and Crane from China, etc. Picture Book.
The Little Red Hen. Jerry Pinkney. Dial, 2006.
This is the classic version of the fable with Pinkney’s incredibly expressive watercolors. Picture Book.
Looking for the Easy Life. Walter Dean Myers. Harper, 2011.
In this original fable, a tribe of monkeys is persuaded by one if it’s members to find the “easy life.” They learn that easy isn’t always good and work isn’t always bad. African American dialect makes this a great read-aloud. Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-4th grade
The McElderry Book of Aesop’s Fables. Michael Morpurgo. Margaret K. McElderry, 2005.The size, format and artwork in this collection of 21 well-known fables make it a top choice for read-aloud and discussion. Picture Book.
The Rooster and the Fox. Helen Ward. Carolrhoda, 2004.
Marvelous watercolor illustrations capture all the drama in this well told tale of Chanticleer, the vain rooster, and his battle with cunning Mr. Fox. Picture Book.
Seven Blind Mice. Ed Young. Philomel, 1992.
An adaptation of the Indian fable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Stunning artwork, beautifully told. Timeless. Picture Book.
The Tortoise and the Jack Rabbit. Susan Lowell. Rising Moon, 1994.
The timeless fable takes place in a southwestern desert. Picture Book.
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You : Very Short Fables to Read Together. Little, Brown, 2010.
This is the 5th title in the popular series. Thirteen Aesop’s Fables are simplified and told in the rhyming call and response format, including: The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Grasshopper and the Ant, the Lion and the Mouse. Picture Book.