Books by Samuel Jay Keyser

THE POND GOD by Samuel Jay Keyser
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

Original fables in free verse are only varyingly successful, making for a collection that fizzles. Several dozen stories fit on a single page each and tell about "How a Thief Stole the Horizon," "How the Gods Learned to Wait," and "How Clouds Came to Be," etc. Each ends with a moral, and is accompanied by a single-page illustration. These sketchy line drawings are often awkward, and have little child appeal. The stories suffer similarly, borrowing from several traditions while acknowledging none (even if they were "inspired by a Navaho shaman.") Keyser seems to be trying to create his own mythology, but the stories are amorphous and fail to cohere. Some even contradict others. (In the last five stories the gods "die without a trace," then are "left behind," then stay, then "learn to die," then all lie down which ends "the first universe.") These flaws undermine Keyser's occasional insights and lyricism, and make this a disappointing collection. (Folktales. 9-12)Read full book review >