Professor Fergus Fahrenheit and His Wonderful Weather Machine

Candace Groth-Fleming, Author, Candace Fleming, Author, Don Weller, Illustrator Simon & Schuster $14 (1p) ISBN 978-0-671-87047-8
Semi-psychedelic art stamps this effort with a dated look. Although the subject of Groth-Fleming's debut-an Old West rainmaker-might entrance audiences, her tale is overlong for the picture book set; and, while Weller's (Cowboys Night Before Christmas) busy, rainbow-hued watercolors might appeal to ``Yellow Submarine'' fans, their studied gracefulness lacks soul. As the folks of Dry Gulch, Tex., are weathering a drought, a black-clad character calling himself Professor Fergus Fahrenheit blows into town and offers to produce a storm. The citizens' skepticism turns to wonder when a downpour occurs, and Fahrenheit makes his sale-in fact, his customers readily pay to make the rain stop. Literally and figuratively, this con-man ``hero'' soaks the parched populace. It's up to the author's afterword to lend some value to the narrative: Fahrenheit is based on actual 19th- and 20th-century rainmakers, Groth-Fleming writes, ``even though we know that rainmaking is impossible.'' Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
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