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Amy Lowry Poole

Author of Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop

4 Works 226 Members 26 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Amy Lowry

Works by Amy Lowry Poole

Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop (2012) 67 copies, 9 reviews
The Pea Blossom (2005) 66 copies, 4 reviews
The Ant and the Grasshopper (2000) 64 copies, 8 reviews
How the Rooster Got His Crown (1999) 29 copies, 5 reviews


Aesop (8) animals (7) ants (3) beauty (4) C (2) children (5) children's (2) children's book (2) China (14) Chinese (4) Chinese myth (2) Crow (2) E (3) easy (3) elementary (3) fable (13) fables (16) fairy tale (6) fiction (10) folklore (10) folktale (10) fox (4) foxes (2) Grade 2 (2) grasshoppers (4) HB (2) insects (3) IYL-owns (2) modern fantasy (2) morals (4) non-fiction (3) patience (4) peas (6) picture book (22) plants (3) retelling (2) revenge (2) science (4) traditional literature (9) winter (2)

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The classic Aesopian fable concerning the busy ants and the lazy grasshopper is transplanted from ancient Greece to early modern China in this engaging picture book from author/illustrator Amy Lowry Poole. As the ants work hard all summer and into autumn to put away food for the winter, the grasshopper enjoys himself, making music for the Emperor in the Summer Palace, and watching all of the entertainments put on in that seasonal home of the Imperial Court. But when winter comes and the court moves back to their winter home in the Forbidden City, the grasshopper finds himself cold and hungry...

The Ant and the Grasshopper is the fourth picture book I have read from Poole, an American author/artist who spent a number of years studying in China, and who draws inspiration from that time and those studies. The author's note here explains the historical background of the Summer Palace, which she visited many times, and how this setting felt right to her, in terms of emphasizing the seasonal nature of this classic fable. I appreciated that, as I often feel that when folktales and fables are transplanted this way, it is done from a discomfort at the original cultural setting and background, and a misplaced desire to encourage diverse representation. Misplaced, because of course, folklore is already wonderfully diverse. In any case, I found this retelling of an old favorite quite engaging, appreciating both the story (with its melancholy end) and the artwork. Recommended to young folklore and fable enthusiasts, and to anyone looking for successfully transplanted tales.
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AbigailAdams26 | 7 other reviews | Jun 30, 2024 |
Author/illustrator Amy Lowry Poole retells a traditional Miao folktale from China in this engaging picture book, opening in a world long ago with six suns. When the cooling rains fail to come, and all the crops wither under the heart of these heavenly bodies, Emperor Yao looks for a solution. The local Miao archers fail to bring down the suns with their arrows, so it falls to Prince Haoyi from beyond the mountains to accomplish the task. But after he downs five of the six suns and the final one goes into hiding in a cave, a new problem develops: without any sun, nothing will grow. Can one of the animals convince the final remaining sun to emerge, and light the world once more...?

How the Rooster Got His Crown is the third title I have read from Poole, following upon her Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop and The Pea Blossom. As it happens, she made her debut here, and was inspired by her time working and studying as an artist in China. The story she presents is an adaptation of one found in The Asian Animal Zodiac (1974) and Favorite Children's Stories from China and Tibet (1962), and is quite similar to that found in Eric A. Kimmel and YongSheng Xuan's Ten Suns: A Chinese Legend, which I have also read and enjoyed. The story in the Kimmel/Xuan book centers more around Hou Yi and his wife, Chang-E, whereas in this tale the legendary archer—a well-known figure in Chinese mythology, who is often considered a god—is a secondary character. Here the focus is on the suns, on the Miao people, and on how rooster managed to restore the sun, thereby gaining his crown. I enjoyed the story here, and found the illustrations, created with traditional Chinese materials and techniques, quite interesting. Recommended to young folklore enthusiasts, and to anyone seeking children's stories with a Chinese cultural background.
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AbigailAdams26 | 4 other reviews | Jun 28, 2024 |
American author/illustrator Amy Lowry Poole transplants Hans Christian Andersen's fairy-tale, Five Peas from a Pod, to China in this lovely picture book retelling. As the pod in which they reside grows ever tighter, a group of peas dream of what they will do out in the big world: one wants to go to the sun, another to the moon, while two more wish to meet the emperor. Only the littlest pea accepts that what will be will be, and it is this pea which has a special fate. Unlike his pod-mates, who all end up eaten, the littlest pea become a beautiful pea plant, helping a frail and sickly young girl to heal...

Andersen's original fairy tale, Fem fra en Ærtebælg, was first published in 1853 according to the author's note here (Wikipedia and WorldCat both place publication in 1852), and was a much more religious tale than Poole's, with a mother and daughter who see God's hand in the pea coming to rest on the edge of their cottage roof, and then sprouting and blooming so beautifully. Inspired by the humble but talented artists with whom she worked for some years in China, Poole removed the religious elements and transplanted the tale to that country, although the main elements of the narrative otherwise remain the same. Although I have read this tale a number of times—it is present in the complete volume of Andersen tales that I own—it never made a strong impression on me, and this is the first individual retelling or adaptation of it that I have encountered. I enjoyed it, appreciating both the story, and the illustrations. I find, much as I did with this author/artist's Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop, that I enjoy Poole's use of color and general composition more than her depiction of specific characters or places. Recommended to young folk and fairy-tale lovers, as well as to those interested in the adaptation of lesser-known Andersen stories.
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AbigailAdams26 | 3 other reviews | Jun 14, 2024 |
Author / illustrator Amy Lowry weaves together four famous Aesopian fables concerning the fox in this entertaining picture book, following that vulpine character through a day of misdeeds. Waking up hungry, the fox seeks the grapes at the bottom of his lane, but finds that he cannot obtain them as they are too high off the ground, concluding that they must be sour and that he does not want them after all. Proceeding along, he tricks a crow out of her cheese using flattery, and tricks a goat into jumping into a well, in order to extricate himself from that same predicament. He finishes his day at a dinner given by the stork, this time finding himself tricked, when his avian host, determined to be revenged upon him for a similar trick, serves the food in such a way that he cannot eat it...

Being familiar with all four of the fables—The Fox and the Grapes, The Fox and the Crow, The Fox and the Goat, and The Fox and the Stork—used in Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop, I was curious to see how Lowry would string them all together, in order to form one cohesive narrative. On the whole I think she succeeded very nicely, and I found the story here amusing. The fox is always wily, but only sometimes the victor, which is as it should be. The artwork, done in gouache and pencil, has definite appeal, although I think I appreciated the use of color and general composition more than the depiction of specific animals. Somehow, our vulpine hero seemed a little too portly to me, and I'm not sure how I felt about his sweater. I have read quite a few Aesopian retellings at this point, both of individual tales and in collections, and I always enjoy them. But stories such as this, which use various fables together, in order to tell a larger story, are somewhat less common (although no less enjoyable). I would recommend this one to young fox lovers and to those seeking creative Aesopian retellings, and would recommend the following titles in this same vein: Anno's Aesop: A Book of Fables by Aesop and Mr. Fox by Mitsumasa Anno and Tales of a Long Afternoon by Max Bolliger.
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AbigailAdams26 | 8 other reviews | May 4, 2024 |



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