WISE GUY by M.D. Usher
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The Life and Philosophy of Socrates
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
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“He was a curious boy, and cheeky too, but more than anything in all the world he wanted to be happy, he wanted to be good, and he wanted to be wise.” Having opened a dialectic (“a Greek word for an intense logical conversation”) that continues to this day, Socrates remains a seminal figure in the history of ideas—ideas which, as Usher, a Classics professor, brilliantly proves, are not beyond the abilities of even younger readers to absorb. Noting that Socrates was not only a dedicated seeker of truth but a social gadfly and a hearty partier, the author follows him from youth to trial and execution, using running side notes to expand on concepts introduced in the main text. Bramhall captures the generally lighthearted tone with broad caricatures of the tubby philosopher—looking like a cross between Avi and Zero Mostel—happily engaged in talk with both attentive followers and discomfited adversaries. Usher closes with links between Socrates and such later thinkers as Erasmus and Martin Luther King, Jr., plus chapter and verse, or at least credible justification, for all of his quotes and information. An intimate, memorable, outstanding introduction. (biographical sketches, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-31249-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2005


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