Linda Spitzers Review of "Stories and Hope and Spirit: Folktales of Eastern Europe" authored by Dan Keding.
Run don’t walk to your telephone or computer to order this fabulous book. It is a must-have for the discriminating storyteller’s library. Reading Dan Keding’s book is almost as good as having Dan in your living room telling the stories to you.
Keding’s folktales of Slavic origin are already edited in storyteller’s language and Dan wants the readers to perpetuate these stories to become part of an unbroken chain(giving Dan credit, of course). I plan to have them all in my repertoire by next year.
"The stories talk about challenges as well as strength, wit, hope and courage it takes to overcome them and succeed"
Dan’s book begins with a tale "The Angels and the Best Wish" a must-tell or read story to your children and grandchildren and whoever else will listen.
" The Most Precious Gift" is a variant of the "Magic Pomegranate" that I and many other storytellers tell but in this version Dan has given us wonderful imagery and a great lesson.
In fact at the end of each folktale there is a lesson Dan learned as a child from his grandmother who told him many of these folktales.
"The First Story" is a marvelous short tale about a boy’s telling of his first story. Dan says he uses this short folktale to segue from one story to another.
"Strawberries in Winter" is a Cinderella variant while "The Prince Who Married a Frog" is a delightful fairytale that was one of my favorites in the book.
"Nail Soup" a stone soup variant has a new twist the way Dan tells it. When the soldier knocks on the doors, he says to himself, "Doesn’t anyone know the word ’hello’? Also the soldier voicing these words to himself, "I fought 12 years for these people. I’m sure they will give me something to eat." I find these words helpful to telling this story.
Notice the story opening lines and the charming anecdotes at the end of each story. Dan also cautions the storyteller "not to change the truth of the story to make it ’better’ ......What the story needs from you is for you to allow it to pass through you and into the hearts and imaginations of your audience."
Buy the book and go out and tell Dan’s stories. Your audience will love you for it.
-reviewed by Linda Spitzer