Big-league environmental events—chronicled in absorbing, illuminating style by Officer (Earth Sciences & Engineering/Dartmouth) and Page (Songs to Birds, reviewed below, etc.). The authors present a grab bag of awesome earthly happenings, concentrating on events so stupendous that they changed the course of history, or are in the process of doing so: the volcanic eruptions of Santorini and Tambora (with a look at continental drift); the Black Plague; dinosaur extinction; human impact on the face of the Earth, and so on. Along their way—which moves roughly from geologic to climatic to human-inspired events—Officer and Page lace their narrative with numerous astonishing, if lesser- scaled, incidents from blue snow to purple haze, and they maintain their poise while tackling such meaty topics as paleomagnetism and isotope geochemistry. The authors get beyond simple (or knotty) mechanics by supplying the historical context, allowing the events to take on a life of their own. Unwieldy theories like plate tectonics are dissected with ease, and many of the discussions are almost allegorical in power—e.g., on population and resource-use- -which is appropriate considering that Officer and Page throw light upon numerous biblical miracles (such as the parting of the Red Sea, which they speculate may have resulted from waters bulging up from deep-sea seismic disturbances, combined with lunar attraction). A work of science that reads like a good mystery—and that's entertainment. (Thirty-eight line drawings and seventeen halftones)

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-19-507785-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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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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