KING NIMROD'S TOWER by Leon Garfield


Email this review


There was a boy in Babylon who found a dog. . . . 'I'll take you home with me' said the boy, 'if you learn to behave.'"" At the same time and in the same place ""King Nimrod was building a tower. . . . 'King Nimrod will save God,' he said, 'If God learns to behave.'"" And as the boy tries without success to train the dog, the workmen follow orders and the tower rises. Meanwhile, up in the sky, the angels warn God to strike down the tower--but God will not endanger the boy and dog with falling bricks and stones. Then God apparently has an idea. . . but, like a modern head of state, he must turn to his advisors for information: ""'How many miles to Babylon?' asked God. 'Three score miles and ten.' 'Can I get there by candlelight?' asked God. 'Yes, and back again!'"" Soon afterward: ""Then God smiled and crossed His fingers on every tongue""--and babel descends. The confused workmen go home, King Nimrod is miserable, and boy and dog at last come to an understanding. Why? ""Because,"" says God, ""My Kingdom of Heaven is better reached by a bridge than by a tower."" Bragg's warm-colored, art-history-derived illustrations emphasize the tower's sometimes dizzying height and the number and industry of the workmen, who look like solid European peasants many centuries beyond Babylon. Garfield tries harder for originality, but instead of giving the story fresh life he dilutes it with cuteness and contrivance. His moral charms but his structure (also) overreaches.

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1982
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard