Dr. Gardner's Fables For Our Times

Modern Fables for Children of All Ages


  • Themes include: Overcoming fear of new things through hard work
  • Learning to think independently
  • Learning to work well in a group
  • Treating other people the same way you would like to be treated

The fable has enjoyed universal popularity. It is a form of allegory, involving the representation of abstractions via a concrete or material form. It is a symbolic narrative. The fable is one of the purest forms of allegory. But a fable is not worthy of being called a fable if its protagonists are not predominantly animals. Animals in a fable are typically human, with all the human foibles: avarice, lust, jealousy, arrogance, false pride, etc. Finally, the fable, if it is to be worthy of the name, has one or more morals or lessons. (It is nowhere written that a story must have only one moral.)

The use of the animal symbol for stories or other purposes dates back to the earliest civilizations. Animal drawings on cave walls probably antedated human figures. Children, who share much in common with primitives with regard to their thinking processes, are traditional lovers of animals. The animal appears to be the childís natural choice for allegorical symbolization. Accordingly, the fable has enjoyed widespread popularity as one of the most effective vehicles for transmitting those messages that a society considers important to communicate to children, and by extension, to subsequent generations.

Children are natural fabulists (their self-created stories often use animal symbols and conclude with one or more morals) and Dr. Gardner, with his mutual storytelling technique, has been telling children fables for many years. In this book, he has incorporated some of the most common and important themes utilized in such responding stories into thirteen fables, each of which deals with one or more common problems with which children deal, provides reasonable and believable solutions, and epitomizes the wisdom thereby gained in one or more morals.

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