The Fortune-Tellers

( 1 )

Overview

This original folktale set in Cameroon is full of adventure and sly humor. Lloyd Alexander's story of a young man visiting — and then becoming — the village fortune-teller is brought to vibrant life with some of Caldecott Medalist Trina Schart Hyman's most memorable artwork. Both children and adults will relish The Fortune-tellers. "A funny, playful story that evokes the irony of the human condition." — Booklist,starred review "Alexander narrates his original tale with folkloric verve and his own mellow brand of ...

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Overview

This original folktale set in Cameroon is full of adventure and sly humor. Lloyd Alexander's story of a young man visiting — and then becoming — the village fortune-teller is brought to vibrant life with some of Caldecott Medalist Trina Schart Hyman's most memorable artwork. Both children and adults will relish The Fortune-tellers. "A funny, playful story that evokes the irony of the human condition." — Booklist,starred review "Alexander narrates his original tale with folkloric verve and his own mellow brand of irony;Hyman realizes the African setting in...splendid illustrations. A winning tale, superlatively presented." — Kirkus Reviews,pointer review Lloyd Alexander's many achievements include a Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor Medal, and the National Book Award.Trina Schart Hyman won the Caldecott Medal for Saint George and the Dragon and a Caldecott Honor Medal for Little Red Riding Hood, among numerous other awards.

A carpenter in the West African country of Cameroon goes to a fortune teller and finds the predictions about his future coming true in an unusual way.

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Editorial Reviews

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Tired of working with wood, a carpenter asks a fortune-teller to read his future. Much to the carpenter's delight, the fortune-teller predicts a sunny life ahead, When the carpenter returns to ask for details, the fortune-teller has disappeared--and the carpenter discovers he has a talent for an exotic new occupation. Vibrant illustrations evoke the magic of Africa in this clever folktale.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
While traveling west on the Ohio River from Wheeling in the late 1700s, 13-year-old Amos, bold 12-year-old Clara and their younger brother, Jonathan, are separated from their father. They spend the rest of this historical survival novel trying to reach Marietta by following the river in the hope of finding him there. Along with Clara's pet cow, Queen Anne, the three children struggle to find enough food, to find their way through the thick forest, and to avoid the Shawnee Indians whom most white people of the time thought of as "savages." Amos, and eventually Clara and Jonathan, gradually come to think otherwise after Amos rescues a young Shawnee boy from drowning in the river. They begin to see each other as fellow human beings, and potential friends, rather than inhuman enemies. Includes an author's note.
School Library Journal
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
School Library Journal
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140562330
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Series: Picture Puffin Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 464,008
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 11.26 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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