Saturday, March 28, 2020

Review of "Ancient Chinese Fables," Foreign Language Press

Review of

Ancient Chinese Fables, Foreign Language Press ISBN 7119018825

Five out of five stars

 Ancient fables are a staple of all cultures of long standing, reading them can be one of the most effective ways to learn some of the fundamentals of how the people think. For the influence of them never fades, witness the phrases “sour grapes,” “united we stand, divided we fall,” and “necessity is the mother of invention” that are still present in western societies 2.5 thousand years after Aesop stated them.

 These fables also originated in the fourth or third centuries B. C. in ancient China. All have a moral that is clear but not explicitly stated at the end. They involve the quirks of human nature and how the difference in perspectives can be very significant. My favorite in the collection appears on page 39 and has the title “The Use of Parables.” It is a succinct statement of why parables are so valuable in that they allow things to be explained in a manner that is understandable by comparing the known to the unknown.

 This book is a worthy addition to basic literature studies in the K-12 area. Not only is it great literature, it also provides some valuable multicultural experience.

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