THE FORTUNE-TELLERS

When the poor, hard-working young carpenter seeks comfort from a fortuneteller, the old man hoodwinks him with double talk: "Rich you will surely be...[if] you earn large sums of money." But fate has a more benign trick in store. The cheating seer mysteriously vanishes; his cloth-merchant landlords, supposing that he has transformed himself into this fine young man, spread word of his predictive powers, and the youth is off to a prosperous new career. Meanwhile, the old man has been as unlucky as his successor is fortunate. Alexander narrates his original tale with folkloric verve and his own mellow brand of irony; Hyman realizes the African setting in broad double spreads rich with the lovely patterns and subtle, warm tones of the fabrics of Cameroon. There are also fine touches of humor in these splendid illustrations, and intriguing characterizations—especially of the carpenter, who enjoys his luck without being overearnest about it, and the beautifully individualized figures in the many crowd scenes. A winning tale, superlatively presented. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-525-44849-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ZATHURA

A trite, knock-off sequel to Jumanji (1981). The “Jumanji” box distracts Walter Budwing away from beating up on his little brother Danny, but it’s Danny who discovers the Zathura board inside—and in no time, Earth is far behind, a meteor has smashed through the roof, and a reptilian Zyborg pirate is crawling through the hole. Each throw of the dice brings an ominous new development, portrayed in grainy, penciled freeze frames featuring sculptured-looking figures in constricted, almost claustrophobic settings. The angles of view are, as always, wonderfully dramatic, but not only is much of the finer detail that contributed to Jumanji’s astonishing realism missing, the spectacular damage being done to the Budwings’ house as the game progresses is, by and large, only glimpsed around the picture edges. Naturally, having had his bacon repeatedly saved by his younger sibling’s quick thinking, once Walter falls through a black hole to a time preceding the game’s start, his attitude toward Danny undergoes a sudden, radical transformation. Van Allsburg’s imagination usually soars right along with his accomplished art—but here, both are just running in place. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-25396-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE KOREAN CINDERELLA

A retelling based on three of the ``half a dozen'' Korean Cinderella variants: ``Pear Blossom's'' stepmother calls her ``Little Pig,'' barely feeds her, and assigns her impossible tasks (filling a cracked jug), but the girl is helped by magical animals (a giant ox that weeds a rice paddy for her). A young magistrate, ``struck by her beauty,'' identifies her at a village festival by her lost sandal, and thus she makes an honorable marriage. The simple tale is retold in a vigorous, rather dramatic style. Heller, whose illustrations are based on her research in Korea, offers bold montages of figures and patterns in a striking array of intense colors. Her facial expressions are less expertly crafted than her realistic animals, sculptural draperies, and decorative traditional motifs, while the mix of styles leads to some cluttered effects; still, an attractive setting for a worthy variant. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 30, 1993

ISBN: 0-06-020432-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more