Publication Date: April 18, 2013
A re-telling of Aesop’s classic The Fox and the Grapes tale for young children.
After reading this version, I read the classic version. The classic fable seeks to explain cognitive dissonance to children. The Fox, at the end of the tale, expresses disgust for the grapes which is contrary to his core belief which is that the grapes are soft and sweet. The re-telling stays mostly true to the original story. There is one element that is really bothersome to this reader and that is the ending.
There seems to be a trend toward cruelty in children’s media today. Instead of learning from the actions of the fox, the squirrel and mouse laugh and ridicule him. The Fox slinks off humiliated and ashamed. Turn on any live-action Disney program today and you’ll see the same sort of activity. Children whose back stories would have us believing that they’re friends shaming each other. There’s always that really dumb friend that everyone ridicules because nature didn’t make them as clever as their friends. In the case of the fox, nature didn’t make him tall enough to get the grapes. I understand that to stay true to the fable, the Fox wouldn’t get the grapes, but I see the further humiliation as unnecessary. What is that teaching our children? What is it teaching them if we give them a book where animals follow another animal and then cheer for his failure? I picture young children at the end of the tale closing the book and chuckling about the “stupid fox” while completely missing the spirit of the lesson.
The illustrations in The Fox and the Grapes are beautifully done with a classic feel. I would recommend this story for young children but also recommend that parents talk to their children when they finish not only about the moral but about the unintended secondary lesson.