I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book. It is definitely a children's chapter book; it took me maybe 20 minutes to read. Overall though it was a very good read.
This book tells the somewhat classic tale of a princess locked up by her evil father. Any price who comes to woo the princess is given an impossible task to perform, in order to win her hand in marriage. That is until a minstrel comes along and with the help of an elven/dwarfish prankster, tricks the old king in his own game.
This was a great classic fairy tale with some humorous quirks thrown. It is cleverly written and would sound wonderful read out-loud. The characters are a bit stereo-typed but each have their own unique quirks. There is a sharp sense of humor throughout the book. The pictures throughout are down in a dark medieval style that somehow still has a bit of humor in it.
Overall I think everyone would enjoy this book; no matter what your age. Kids will enjoy the castles, knights, and general fairy tale aspects of it; adults will enjoy the clever word play and interesting plot. I am glad I read it and it is a book that I will keep on my shelf to read to my son when he gets old enough to sit still for 30 minutes at a time :-)
How can anyone describe this book? It isn't a parable, a fairy story, or a poem, but rather a mixture of all three. It is beautiful and it is comic. It is philosophical and it is cheery. What we suppose we are trying fumblingly to say is, in a word, that it is Thurber.
There are only a few reasons why everybody has always wanted to read this kind of story, but they are basic:
Everybody has always wanted to love a Princess.
Everybody has always wanted to be a Prince.
Everybody has always wanted the wicked Duke to be punished.
Everybody has always wanted to live happily ever after.
Too little of this kind of thing is going on in the world today. But all of it is going on valorously in The 13 Clocks.
Here is a great story--part parable, part fairy tale, part poem--to rival the Brothers Grimm. A real lost treasure.
Adults and young readers alike will enjoy this fairy-tale by James Thurber. Illustrations by Marc Simont are mysterious, magical, even sinister at times, but it's a live-happily-ever-after fairy tale, so don't worry!
A classic Thurber, accompanied by great illustrations by Marc Simont. Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia describes it as "a triumphant blend of nonsense and morality tale." NY Herald Tribune Book Review said, "Mr. Thurber has done it again, though I don't know just what it is he has done this time--a fairy tale, a comment on the human cruelty and human sweetness or a spell, an incantation compounded of poetry and logic and wit."
It's quick and easy, so I'm going to read it another time or two, in another week or two, and just let it sort of sink in... it just feels like the artistry and wisdom will gradually reveal their beauty if I'll give it a little time...
And yes, I recommend the same to you!
I got this for my daughter, or at least that was the excuse. What a wonderful little book! I loved the games Thurber plays with language and the illustrations by Simont fit it perfectly. The near poetry in it I'm sure Gabi will love too (I used to read, and still read, John M. Ford's "The Man In the Golden Mask" to her to get her to sleep). Beautiful and I'm sorry I didn't know about it earlier.
James Thurber's grasp of language in this book is masterful. It is in no way a children's book alone, anyone will appreciate his wit, his prose, his characters, his obvious attention to detail.
This story is about the cold Duke, the lovely Princess Saralinda, the prince who seeks her hand, the unexplainable Golux and the dreaded Todal. It is a classic tale, nothing extraordinary in the plot, but the writing is beautiful. It is worth reading, and worth reading twice a year.
Good, easy read for elementary age children.