THEY SAW THE FUTURE

ORACLES, PSYCHICS, SCIENTISTS, GREAT THINKERS, AND PRETTY GOOD GUESSERS

In a now familiar format, Krull (Lives of the Artist, 1995, etc.) introduces prognosticators from Nostradamus and Hildegard of Bingen to Jules Verne, Nicholas Black Elk, Jeane Dixon, Marshall McLuhan, and the anonymous Mayan creators of a calendar that shows a major cataclysm coming on December 21, 2012. Along with short lists of hits and misses, every chapter combines biographical tidbits, analyses, and cultural snapshots, illuminating both the prophets’ characters and their eras. Brooker’s tableaux incorporate paint, clipped photographs, and bits of cloth and leather for portraits that are less satiric than the caricatures Kathryn Hewitt created for the previous books in the series. On whether her subjects could see the future, the author has it both ways, suggesting “a gift, a talent, a special genius beyond rational explanation,” nourished by tremendous curiosity, uncommon listening and research skills, and the courage to go out on a limb. (further reading, index) (Biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81295-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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