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A quick and easy senior seminar taught by a quick and easy senior instructor, false attempts at grouchiness notwithstanding....

Rounding 40 years since he first stood up to recount comical things, Dr. Cosby is the Cal Ripkin of standup. Just as regularly, no matter what, he suits up and delivers another slim volume of agreeable musings on matters of general interest (Love and Marriage, 1989; Childhood, 1991, etc.).

An integral part of Cosby’s writing is his powerful persona, and a reader can hear the droll delivery on each page, if not actual rim shots on the punch lines. When Cos was six, he informs us, “my father said to me: ‘Son, I’m going to tell you something and I want you to never forget it.’ And then he knocked me out.” There are many pleasantries about growing up in the projects in North Philly, where Cosby was the brightest kid in his school. When he found that out, he joined the Navy. Then he attended Teachers College at Temple University (things move quickly in Cosby’s world). Matters uxorious, a Cosby stock in trade, are not neglected, as in the discussion of nights long after the wedding in which he seeks the toilet without turning on the light. And no one can present a better exegesis of a little kid’s tantrum. The tales, true or false, are generally diverting, though not all equally so. There is a particularly nice story about playing the Big Time for the first time at Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago all those years ago; but frankly, Bill, we could have done without the detailed essay about your ingrown hair. Though the text contains no Fat Albert, each chapter is graced with a drawing by the great George Booth.

A quick and easy senior seminar taught by a quick and easy senior instructor, false attempts at grouchiness notwithstanding. It’s amiable entertainment—it could not be otherwise—and fully anodyne.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2001

ISBN: 0-7868-6810-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2001

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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