12 October 2007

What I am Reading Today--Keturah and Lord Death

I love fairy tales. I love the language and the imagery and the allegory--the whole package. I wish people would stop thinking of fairy tales as exclusively for children, because they aren't. The tradition of the fairy tale dates back to the oral history of literature, when stories were told rather than read. That's why some of them are so frightening and just plain twisted. Long before they became morality morsels for children, fairy tales warned listeners to be careful in a dangerous world.

So with that in mind, I whole heartedly recommend Keturah and Lord Death, a book for a YA audience steeped in fairy tale tradition. I'm almost finished, and I love it! Keturah is a young woman with a talent for telling stories. She also has a talent, if you want to call it that, for seeing Death (who is a rather sympathetic, burdened character in this book.) The people of Keturah's village, once they become aware of her ability, beg her to intercede with Death on their behalf, but don't want anything to do with her otherwise. Meanwhile, Keturah has her own bargains to broker with Death, who not only is ready to take her from this earth, but claim her as his bride as well. Great stuff!

Still on the topic of outwitting Death, check out Teresa Bateman's picture book The Keeper of Soles, in which a cobbler manages to put off the inevitable with the promise of new shoes.

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