In this collection, newly painted for Aesop's Kiwi Fables, Ray Ching's drawing and painting skills, familiar to New Zealanders through his widely seen paintings of birds, are imaginatively engaged in an altogether new expression of Aesop's Fables. The stories have left their origins in Greece and ancient Europe and set off to the distant isles of New Zealand. Now, the tales are told by the inhabitants of these islands, mostly birds, who take the place of the more traditional players – Tui are as smart as Crows, and Tuatara is as dogged as the Tortoise, to successfully win his race over Possum. An introduction by Richard Wolfe gives an insight into the work and art of Ray Ching and a brief history of Aesop's fables in publication.
Raymond Ching's curiously un-English sounding name is Cornish in origin, and it is from there that his family sailed for New Zealand in 1840, settling in Nelson. It was there, on the family farm, that Ray Ching was introduced to the birds and other creatures that have remained central to his art. Books on his paintings include: Raymond Ching, The Bird Paintings (1978), Studies & Sketches of a Bird Painter (1981), New Zealand Birds (1987), Wild Portraits (1988), Journey of an Artist (1990), Kiwis, A Monograph of the Family Apterygidae (1990), Voice from the Wilderness (1994). Today his home is in Bradford-on-Avon, England.