[caption id="attachment_849" align="alignleft" width="167" caption="Craig Morgan Teicher's "Cradle Book""][/caption] Library Journal, the publication of record for librarians across the country, says this of Cradle Book by Craig Morgan Teicher. What say you? Perhaps it's because morals sound archaic to the modern ear that anything that ends in one strikes us as less a story than an artifact. With this varied collection of short prose pieces, Teicher (Brenda Is in the Room & Other Poems) works at some remove from the traditional fable while forfeiting none of the surprise and humor that are part of the genre. While Teicher cops many of the stylistic conventions of the fable, such as natural settings and anthropomorphized animals, the morals that close his tales are sometimes ambiguous and serve provocatively to undermine the authority of the narrator. Yet despite being set outside of time, these pieces have an anachronistic feel to them, like Elizabethan diction or peanut brittle. What's more, the use of the moral frequently interrupts the cadence of the story, putting on the brakes almost as soon as the story's begun. VERDICT Authored with a fine ear and subtle intellect, Teicher's stories bridge the sometimes considerable divide between simplicity and sophistication and will appeal to those who prefer living traditions to museum pieces.
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