Aesop’s Fables in Words of One Syllable, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

Life is short, and like art, the job of sorting books is long. Still, the words themselves aren’t necessarily long. This little book must have been Bob’s…


The tiny tot on the cover seems dwarfed by a dragonfly.

I’m loving the illustrations… this copy doesn’t have a publication or copyright date, and none of the similar listings on Amazon have the same cover. I think mine is from the early 1900s.


Poor fox — I’m a big fan of grapes and they look pretty good to me too.

The next page worried me — “shadow” — last time I looked that had two syllables. I guess the one-syllable rule doesn’t apply to the titles, which came about long before the syllable simplification of the text. Tortoise (or rather “tor-toise” in the text, like “sha-dow” here, get it?) gets the same word-division in a later story.

The Dog and the ShadowWondering if books in “words of one syllable” were once a thing, I looked around on Amazon. And yes, there’s Pilgrim’s Progress in Words of One Syllable, and Swiss Family Robinson, and Robinson Crusoe. Is it just me, or do these seem a little heavy for early readers? Even The Life of George Washington gets into the one syllable action.  I’m mystified by their Alice in Wonderland though. What will become of the jabberwock? (I might have to break one of my rules and buy a copy)

One more illustration — because it’s a chicken.

Aesop's Fables in Words of One Syllable: The Cock and the Gem

The Cock and the Gem… is this really where “pearls before swine” comes from?

Nope – I just looked it up. It’s from the Bible, Matthew 7:6.

I think that, once I finally finish, I’ll miss having books to sort. I may have to hire myself out to go through other peoples’ collections.

Do you have any boxes of books that need sorting?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

8 thoughts on “Aesop’s Fables in Words of One Syllable, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

  1. Probably from the 1900s. That is certainly a heavy piece of history there that you have got. Cock vs chicken…I do wonder why one-syllables went out of fashion. Sorting books can certainly be hard. I remember I had so many Enid Blyton, Buffy and Sabrina The Teenage Witch books to clear out when I moved from Singapore back to Australia. None of the books made it to Australia. Now all of them are good to a new home.

    • I have a box of sci-fi novels loaded up to take to Half-Price books this afternoon — then to the library for donation of the rest. Do you miss your books? I have to admit I think I will miss having some of the ones I’m donating now. (but there are still a few hundred to go, so I’m not bereft yet 😉 )

      • I actually do miss my books and wish I’d kept a handful of them. Like two or three copies which wouldn’t have been too hard to stuff into a suitcase. Good luck with the other hundreds of them. It will probably take you a while. Good luck again 😉

      • Sometimes it’s comforting to find old books I read and loved when I was younger, and also to see pages I bookmarked – or even dog-eared *gasp* before I knew better. Thank you for the “good luck” – I’m going to be needing it through the next few months (and for more than just the books — I’m trying to get this finished up by spring) — thx again Mabel, Sandy

      • Thanks Mabel, and, off topic: I’ve been thinking of you with the holidays coming up (your summer, our winter) — it’s been so warm here all year that I’m beginning to think we’re trading hemispheres.

  2. Enjoyed learning of the one syllable books, I had not known of them before. They do seem heavy for first-readers; however, our third grader’s homework astonishes us with the challenging words in the homework packets.

    I admire you for keeping on through the books, and making disposition decisions about them. I use you as inspiration when I get overwhelmed with my books. I too am making progress, albeit slowly. I haven’t gotten down to the absolute last books because those are the ones I will have to keep.

    We had a yard sale this summer and NOT ONE book sold, although there were lots of great choices (including great kids books) and prices of 10-25 cents!

    • I wonder why no one bought books at the yard sale — I would have thought they would be the first to go, especially at those prices. I still find it hard to let books go, but as time goes by I am becoming more ruthless. My library is making out like a bandit with my donations for their sales!

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