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The Fortune Tellers
by Lloyd Alexander
Book Jacket
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525448495 The hands of fate deftly propel this original folktale. A seedy fortune-teller profits from gullible and sometimes desperate villagers who seek predictions for a rosier future. One unhappy carpenter takes to heart the seer's hardly helpful advice--``Rich you will surely be, on one condition: that you earn large sums of money''--and looks forward to a prosperous life. Most surprising to the craftsman, he ends up in the right place at the right time and the prediction comes true. Alexander's chipper text has a jaunty and infectious ``just so'' tone. Amazing coincidences fuse the plot elements, but the story's logic remains intact, successfully suspending the reader's disbelief. Hyman's acrylic, ink and crayon illustrations capture the landscape and people of West Africa in vivid detail. Indigenous plants and animals--including comically placed lizards--dot each scene, and the villagers' lushly textured apparel is spectacular. Especially opulent are spreads featuring the fortune-teller's cluttered quarters and the market stalls with their baskets and pottery. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525448495 Gr 1-4?A master storyteller and an art maven join forces to create some marvelous, magical images. The texture of life and the colors of Cameroon are interwoven into this telling tale about a young man who wants to see what his future holds. (Sept. 1992) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780525448495 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)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525448495 Fiction: PB An unhappy carpenter seeks the advice of a fortuneteller, from whom he hears only what he wants to hear. When he returns and is mistaken for the fortuneteller, he finds the new trade easier than his old and quickly becomes rich and famous. Hyman's rendering of scenes in the central-African country of Cameroon delights the eye. A book that pulses with life and good humor. Horn Rating: Outstanding, noteworthy in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: ef (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780140562330 "Alexander's chipper text has a jaunty and infectious `just so' tone," said PW in a starred review of this original folktale about a crooked fortune teller who predicts wealth and happiness for a carpenter. Ages 3-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525448495 Ages 4-8. Alexander's rags-to-riches story combines universal elements of the trickster character and the cumulative disaster tale. Hyman's pictures set it all in a vibrant community in Cameroon, West Africa. An old fortune-teller assures a young carpenter he'll be rich (if he earns large sums of money), he'll be famous (once he becomes well known), etc. Then the old man disappears; the people think he's been transformed into the carpenter, who quickly takes on the fortune-teller's role, learns the portentous babble, and becomes rich, famous, and happy. Meanwhile, we discover what really happened to the old man: he fell out of the window, had a series of accidents, and disappeared without a trace. The energetic, brilliantly colored paintings are packed with people and objects that swirl around the main characters. Bathed in golden light, the carpenter's dreams of wealth, power, and romance look pale beside the magical daily life of the community. You can look and look at these pictures and see ever more detail of patterns and textures in foods, creatures, carvings, basketware, and, above all, the woven patterned cloths worn by everyone in gorgeous combinations. For the last part of the story--the bad fortune that happens as easily as the good--the packed pictures empty out to a view of wide savanna and the old man falling from the sky like Icarus, lost without a trace. With its ups and downs, this is a funny, playful story that evokes the irony of the human condition. ~--Hazel Rochman
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525448495 Gr 1-4-- A young carpenter, tired of hammering and sawing, seeks out a fortune-teller to see what his future holds. The cagey old prophet promises him a rosy future--well, maybe. `` `Rich you will surely be,' '' says the fortune-teller, if `` `you earn large sums of money.' '' Moreover, `` `You shall wed your true love . . . if you find her and she agrees. And you shall be happy as any in the world if you can avoid being miserable.' '' Pleased with these promising, if ambiguous, predictions, the carpenter leaves, only to get halfway home and decide he has more questions to ask. But the fortune-teller has mysteriously vanished, leaving the carpenter in the quirky hand of fate where, in typical Alexander fashion, his life takes a surprising and humorous turn. The story's warm and witty tone is reinforced by Hyman's masterful illustrations. Expressive figures are dynamically placed against a West African landscape, in colors so rich and clear that they invite readers to touch the fabrics and breathe the air. Visual details--carved wooden stools, traditional cloth patterns, signs in French--add an authenticity to the story (which is actually set in Cameroon), while touches of humor in postures and expressions underscore Alexander's gentle wit. These illustrations are obviously a labor of love. Vibrant with life and good humor, this is a supremely satisfying creation. --Linda Boyles, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.