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The Fortune-Tellers
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The Fortune-Tellers

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  649 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Picture Puffins (first published September 24th 1992)
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Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it

I had high hopes for this one since it was born of the creative talents of two of children's literature's most gifted. It lived up to my expectations in that the illustrations are absolutely stunningly fabulous ans so full of atmosphere and the story is told well. I am not sure how satisfactory the story would be for those of us seeking a "moral" to the story, though, based on the fates of the two "fortune tellers." This was a bit annoying for me, but t
Lisa Vegan
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
I was worried when I saw this book’s cover, as I got it for this illustrator’s illustrations, and I wasn’t wild about it. I also didn’t think I’d enjoy a story about fortune-tellers.

Well, I need not have worried.

The story is amusing and sweet, although I will say I wasn’t satisfied by the conclusion. I appreciated everything up through the finding of each other’s true love, but I was hoping the new fortune teller would make a certain change, and I thought what was shown about what happened to th
This is an odd one. A young man goes to a fortune-teller because he's unhappy with his life. The fortune-teller offers him predictions that are 100% worthless, but he's not smart enough to realize that. Then when he himself is mistaken for the fortune-teller, he all-of-a-sudden catches on and gives the same type of fortunes to everyone in the village. At least, I think he catches on. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe he just says them without realizing their ridiculous nature. Just...not sure. Either way, ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Trina Schart Hyman beautifully illustrates this clever and humorous tale from Cameroon.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture
Hyman's charming illustrations enliven a rather weak story about a discontent young construction worker who visits a scam fortune teller. The young man is too dumb to notice that the predictions are worthless, but when the fortune teller disappears the young man takes his place and ends up becoming rich and famous after all.

Cute, but it didn't work for me on any emotional or moral level. The young man is a dumb cluck who just wants to be rich and have a hot wife, so I didn't feel any particular
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, picture-book
I originally wanted to read this because I really like Lloyd Alexander, and I hadn't realized he wrote some picture books! When I started reading this, I was immediately charmed by Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations. Such wonderful details and colors! Then the story made me laugh. What a great fortune teller! He says things like: "Rich you will surely be . . . on one condition: that you earn large sums of money," and "You shall wed your true love, if you find her and she agrees. And you shall be ...more
The illustrator was the one who chose to set the story in Cameroon since she had just visited there to attend her daughter's wedding. She drew herself, some family members, and the author in some of the scenes!
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book. This beautiful, stunning book. I don't normally review picture books but this one is by Lloyd Alexander and it has the most incredible art I've ever seen. You should go and find a copy and stare at it for the rest of the day.
Mary Catelli
A delightful little tale of some sillies and a man who discovers the trick of being a fortune-teller.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Short Summary: A young man in Cameroon finds a fortune-teller. When he goes back to ask him more questions, he is mistaken for the old man-turned young man. He assumes the life of the fortune-teller (who disappeared--his fate is not good), becomes rich, marries a beautiful woman and occasionally wonders about the old man.

What I liked: Loved the illustrations. Beautiful images by Trina Schart Hyman. Rich and colorful, a wonderful sense of what this village and its people look like, cute funny bit
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A young man, tired of his lot in life, goes to the next town to see a fortune teller. There, he learns about his future. But the most captivating part is the fact that the fortune teller disappears shortly after telling the young man his fortune.

The beautiful thing about this tale is how the fortune teller tells the man his fortune. Does he tell him what his true future is? Or does the young man have to create his own fortune?
Courtney Stevens
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tim Morrison used this book to teach vocabulary games. A young carpenter gets his fortune told and rushes home to see it all to come true, but he rushes back to the fortuneteller to ask her other questions. The lady is gone, and someone mistakes the carpenter as the fortuneteller. He takes over her position and the rest of his life pans out interestingly. Gorgeous illustrations.
Linda Atkinson
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting tale with a legend type feel to it. Pictures are beautiful too.
Tabitha Scott
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was very good, except for the ending. This book I would not recommend for my students to read.
Emily Anderer
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, africa
The story is just all right, but the illustrations are wonderful.
Emma Pasley
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
One of my picture books. The illustrations were unique and beautiful to the story. I would love to use this book in the classroom to teach the concept of teaching a lesson through a story (parable, folk tale).
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.M. Albert
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lexie Haarsma
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The Fortune Tellers by Lloyd Alexander tells the story of a young carpenter who becomes very excited to learn that there will be a fortune teller in the next town. He can not wait to learn and inquire about his future and dreams up all of the endless possibilities. He is told by the fortune teller that he will wed his true love. This sets hi on a journey to embark on this prediction. I thought this story was good, but not great. It's a bit lengthy. I think the illustrations are well done though ...more
Erina Jeon
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I thought that this book was entertaining, contained beautiful illustrations, but may not have been representative of the people of Cameroon. It may have some cultural bias because one of the main characters, the fortune teller, is viewed as a scheming and manipulative person who is only trying to take his money by telling him what he wants to hear. This book can be interesting to children, is age-appropriate, and utilizes style and language that are appropriate for children to understand. I lik ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If you’ve read any Lloyd Alexander, you’ll quickly recognize his distinctive, fable-like style in The Fortune-Tellers. Although, unlike most of his books, this is a short story–a children’s picture book, actually–it carries much the same feel as longer works such as the Prydain books or The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian. It’s quite the charming tall tale, full of wit and irony in good measure as well as a hefty dose of humor. It’s notable that the text itself is–like many of his stories–v ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Fortune-Tellers" is an African story about a man who visits a fortune-teller, who tells him he will be successful and wealthy, with generic statements like "You will be very wealthy, once you have earned a lot of money." It is comical and fun. The book could be used in a classroom to talk about irony or inference or something like that. It would be fun to look at the fortune-teller's ambiguous fortune giving and figure out what he's really saying, and maybe have kids try to come up with the ...more
Katharine Snyder
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
While the illustrations in this book were gorgeous, and eye catching, the story itself confused me. At first a carpentar is unhappy with his life, so he goes to see his future, and after hearing he would be rich if he made a lot of money, and live for a long time, as long as he did not die; he believes that his life is going to turn out exactly as he wishes. Eventually he becomes the fortune teller, gets rich and has everything he heard the fortune teller told him. Essentially, the fortune telle ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
I love reading this book with my kids. Especially Josh--as he just chuckles over the silliness of the fortunes given by the fortune teller! They think it's super funny what happens to the other fortune teller, too! I've read some reviews that tells how this isn't a good book, because it doesn't really teach a good moral. I beg to differ. For many reasons. First of all, I think it shows how life is really unpredictable and you just never know what will happen. Also, that you can make up your own ...more
May 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
I LOVED the illustrations in this book! They were vibrant, detailed, and beautiful! The story was interesting. Basically, a carpenter decides he doesn't really want to be a carpenter for the rest of his life, and he decides to go and visit a fortune-teller that he has heard of in a neighboring town. He asks the fortune-teller questions about his future, and receives positive, yet somewhat misleading, answers. At first I thought that the fortune-teller was blowing smoke, but then when I read more ...more
Hannah Rich
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The illustrations in this book are beautiful! There is so much intricate detail across each page that definitely catches the readers eye! I love how most of the illustrations take up two pages, because a two page picture in my opinion, brings the story to life! So much color is used to formulate each little object drawn on the page. Each article of clothing worn by a character has beautiful historical detail, and utilizes a variety of colors to portray the specific image.

I think this book could
Brianna Jensen
A funny tale of how a carpenter visited a fortune teller one day--and when he thought of more questions he wanted to ask the fortune teller and ran back, the fortune teller had vanished. The carpenter took on his role, and became wealthy with clients and lived happily ever after. The funny part about the book is that all the fortunes are statements such as "you will be very rich--on one condition--if you can earn large sums of money."

This is a picture book because it is a made-up story that has
Geoff Paulson
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely stunning artwork, rich, detailed and beautiful. You can spend far more time picking out the intricacies of the illustrations than actually reading the story.

As for the story, well it doesn't quite make sense. A fortune teller gives an unsatisfied young man some worthless, self-fulfilling prophecies (You'll be rich as long as you come into a large sum of money). The fortune teller falls into a series of misfortunes (think wasps, lions, etc...) and the young man stumbles into and takes
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Lloyd Chudley Alexander was an influential American author of more than forty books, mostly fantasy novels for children and adolescents, as well as several adult books. His most famous contribution to the field of children's literature is the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain. The concluding book of the series, The High King , was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1969. Alexander's other books ...more
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