on April 18, 2012
This was a really great collection of stories that are not only suitable for telling aloud but also for sharing with students or your own children. I particularly appreciated the author's little notes at the end of each story which summed up his thoughts on each tale, and also how well he cited the culture/country the story came from, and gave credit if he took them from another teller. I liked many of them quite a lot, but it would be too tedious to list them all by title. If you want a great collection of tales that really appreciate age and the wisdom that comes with getting older, this is a good book for you to pick up.
A NOTE ON THE KINDLE EDITION: There are some formatting issues throughout this book, with words pressed together/incorrectly spaced, but otherwise this was easy to read and didn't suffer from being translated into e-book format.
on March 10, 2014
My gosh this is a fabulous read! So clever, so crafty, so, well, enriching! If your idea of a good, no, a GREAT time is sitting
around the fire with elders full of truth-telling tales then this IS the collection to get! You will smile and smile and smile...just like the old woman who cheats death! Yes she does!
on January 17, 2016
One of the ongoing challenges of any storyteller is to find more stories to tell. For all the dozens a teller may know, it is vital to keep our stories fresh, important, and meaningful. That’s what I love about Dan Keding’s Elder Tales. It’s full of familiar stories (like several of Nasruddin, or Solomon’s Ring, or Why There is Still Misery in the World), but Keding’s voice makes the stories come alive again in new ways.
I also love that the focus really is on elders. Storytelling with children or in business is all the rage this decade. Keding’s book is a nice change -- especially since he learned so many of them from elders in his life, like his grandmother. These stories show a value in sitting at the feet of our elders, and really listening. Plus, the book includes appendices on doing cross-generational storytelling and telling stories to elders. This is not a collection of “trope” tales about old people -- they’re deep, thoughtful, witty, and poignant. Chapters explore different themes like “Heroes” or “Tricksters” or even “Our Animal Elders.” The book brings together both a wide swath of cultures and a variety of themes.
My one critique would be that some of the stories have little or no dialogue. Personally, I do a lot of character work in my performances, and so I naturally prefer tales that have dialogue. Of course, the tales without dialogue are still wonderful, solid stories, when told in the right time and place. I’m only meaning that were I to perform any of them, I would make some stylistic adaptations.
All in all, this is one of the best collections of thematic folktales out there. For this storyteller at least, highly recommended.