The fate of Fausto A painted fable

Oliver Jeffers

Book - 2019

A selfish man sets out to prove that he is the boss of everything he surveys.

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Subjects
Genres
Fables
Picture books
Published
New York : Philomel Books 2019.
Edition
First American edition
Language
English
Item Description
First published in Great Britain by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2019.
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Audience
Ages 4-8.
Grades 2-3.
ISBN
9780593115015
0593115015
Main Author
Oliver Jeffers (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Convinced that he owns or controls everything, Mr. Fausto sets out to declare his power. A flower, a sheep, a tree, a field, a forest, and a lake all accept his claims; only the mountain resists, and then only until Fausto tantrums. But when he asserts dominion over the sea, it verbally spars with him, finally convincing Fausto to step into the water to demonstrate his rage. Alas, in his quest for omnipotence, Fausto has forgotten that he does not swim. Jeffers combines a succinct text with minimalist art that features simple objects set against white backgrounds, and a few art-free spreads. Fausto is a balding, mustachioed white man sporting a three-piece suit, whose nose generally tilts up, even mid outburst. Thematically reminiscent of Gerald McDermott's The Stonecutter (1975), this story may suggest political parallels to adults, while kids are more likely to read this as the dangers of greed. Appended with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut citing the value of having enough, this is a parable sure to spark lively discussions. Grades 2-5. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Fausto, a balding tyrant in a three-piece suit, wants it all. "You are mine," he tells a flower. He declares ownership of a sheep, a tree, a field, a forest, and a lake. A mountain gives him some trouble, but when Fausto "put up such a fight you would not believe"—Jeffers (Here We Are) represents it with vicious scribbles above his head—the mountain eventually concedes. Now Fausto resolves to possess the sea and, outfitted in a yellow slicker, sets out in a boat. "Sea, you are mine," he declares. To demonstrate his "anger and importance" after the sea resists, Fausto steps from the boat to stamp his foot on its surface—allowing nature a serene return to its original, unowned state. In Jeffers's first book featuring lithography, a medium that reproduces the energy of his lines with startling vividness, dashes of violent pink, acid yellow, and Prussian blue punctuate expanses of white space. Boldly conceived and gracefully executed, Jeffers's dark fable imagines what happens when desire leads to selfishness and self-destruction, and shows the merits of calm refusal in the face of dangerous individuals. Ages 4–8. (Sept.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 2–5—In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, the titular prince on an intergalactic journey meets a businessman who believes that he owns everything he sees. The prince is offended by the businessman's callous greed, and readers may find themselves feeling similar indignation toward Fausto in Jeffers's beautiful and sharply evocative "painted fable." Fausto, whose name will remind older readers of another avaricious literary figure, is a demanding, mustachioed man who stomps around and claims ownership of a flower, a tree, a mountain, etc. The objects he claims are left withered and lifeless in Fausto's selfishly destructive wake: the flower is plucked, the leaves fall from the tree, even the mountain stoops in sorrow. Jeffers's painted backgrounds use a blue or brown palette to evoke the mood of a world left drained and joyless. Hot pink flowers and Fausto's ironically cheerful neon yellow rain slicker draw the eye from the monochromatic backgrounds. Fausto continues in his blustery manner until his blind greed leads to his literal consumption. Some readers may be shocked by the blunt honestly of the fable's finale, but totalitarian greed is an issue that must be firmly addressed. VERDICT Only Jeffers knows if this 2019 fable is about Trumpian terrors, the horror of late-stage capitalism, or simply a cautionary tale against greed that is as old as storytelling itself. Regardless of its intentions, this minimalistic masterpiece is a must-read for all ages.—Chance Lee Joyner, Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library, NH Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A quirky modern fable by the award-winning illustrator of The Day the Crayons Quit depicts a greedy man whose desire for more than everything he sees leads him to conquer a boat and embark on a voyage of unexpected discoveries. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A selfish man sets out to prove that he is the boss of everything he surveys.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A TIME Best Children's Book of 2019!A Chicago Public Library 2019 Best of the Best Book!*"This minimalistic masterpiece is a must-read for all ages." --School Library Journal (starred review!)A quirky, cautionary tale from beloved New York Times bestselling picture book creator Oliver Jeffers!There was once a man who believed he owned everything and set out to survey what was his."You are mine," Fausto said to the flower, the sheep, and the mountain, and they all bowed before him. But they were not enough for Fausto, so he conquered a boat and set out to sea . . .Combining bold art and powerful prose, and working in traditional lithographic printmaking techniques for the first time, world-renowned talent Oliver Jeffers has created a poignant modern-day fable to touch the hearts of adults and children alike.Praise for The Fate of Fausto:"Jeffers paints Fausto and the objects of his desire with the nonchalant finesse he is known for and in the richly saturated colors he generally favors... Jeffers delivers swift justice in a few concluding words that make for an ending that satisfies for being both fair-minded and irrevocable."--New York Times Book Review"Boldly conceived and gracefully executed."--Publishers Weekly"A parable sure to spark lively discussions." --Booklist"A cautionary fable on the banality of belligerence." --Kirkus Reviews