Should delight dog-lovers and science buffs alike, even though many of Franklin’s conjectures can’t be proven.

Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Franklin (Journalism/Univ. of Maryland; The Molecules of the Mind, 1987, etc.) explores the symbiotic relationship between man and dog.

When the author proposed to his wife, her response was, “Does this mean that I can have a puppy?” His agreement was the beginning of a happy marriage and a love affair with Charlie, the poodle who joined their family. Franklin’s world was changed as he shared Charlie’s joy and pondered his awareness of things “just beyond the reach of everyday human beings.” It wasn’t surprising that the poodle could nose out hidden wildlife, but he seemed to perceive the emotions of people by their smell as well. During his years on the science beat for the Baltimore Sun, Franklin followed advances in archeology, anthropology and neuroanatomy, but he was startled to find little scientific information about dogs. “How could an animal be everywhere, and yet go almost completely unnoticed by the very people whose job it was to notice things?” he asked himself. Chancing upon a photograph taken at a dig in the Jordan Valley that revealed a man and a pup buried together at a site estimated to be 12,000 years old, he began a ten-year quest to unravel the relationship between the evolution of humans and dogs, both of which appear to have emerged in their modern form at the same time. Franklin branches off in many fascinating directions. Noting that excavations of 400,000-year-old sites show wolf bones and human artifacts intermixed, he speculates that wolves who followed primitive pre-humans were gradually transformed into dogs, which then participated in the domestication of other animals. He concludes that mankind and dogs have evolved symbiotically and are psychologically as essential to each other today as in the past—the dogs for sustenance and the human for companionship and to dump the occasional “emotional weight”—with brains that have evolved accordingly.

Should delight dog-lovers and science buffs alike, even though many of Franklin’s conjectures can’t be proven.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9077-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009



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




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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