"Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn't go, there lived a cold, aggressive Duke, and his niece, the Princess Saralinda. She was warm in every wind and weather, but he was always cold. His hands were as cold as his smile, and almost as cold as his heart. He wore gloves when he was asleep, and he wore gloves when he was awake, which made it difficult for him to pick up pins or coins or the kernels of nuts, or to tear the wings from nightingales."
So begins James Thurber's sublimely revamped fairy tale, "The 13 Clocks," in which a wicked Duke who imagines he has killed time, and the Duke's beautiful niece, for whom time seems to have run out, both meet their match, courtesy of an enterprising and very handsome prince in disguise. Readers young and old will take pleasure in this tale of love forestalled but ultimately fulfilled, admiring its upstanding hero ("He yearned to find in a far land the princess of his dreams, singing as he went, and possibly slaying a dragon here and there") and unapologetic villain ("We all have flaws," the Duke said. "Mine is being wicked"), while wondering at the enigmatic Golux, the mysterious stranger whose unpredictable interventions speed the story to its necessarily happy end.
James Thurber (1894-1961) was one of the outstanding American humorists and cartoonists of the twentieth century. Thurber wrote nearly forty books, including collections of essays, short stories, fables, and children's stories. Marc Simont has illustrated nearly a hundred books. He won a Caldecott Honor in 1950 for illustrating Ruth Krauss's The Happy Day, and in 1957 he was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his pictures in A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry. Neil Gaiman is an award-winning author of novels, short stories, children's books, and graphic novels. Among his works are the children's books Coraline, The Wolves in the Walls, and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish; the Sandman graphic novels series; and the fantasy novels Stardust and Smoke and Mirrors.
An unequivocal children's classic. Exquisitely resurrected by the New York Review Children's Collection, this attractive facsimile is a rare treat. Written in the true tradition of fairy tales, it features a handsome hero, an outrageously barbarous villain, an enigmatic henchman, and a captive princess. James Thurber's audacious and lyrical writing is a complete joy to read aloud. Not to be missed. Bookseller A wonderful folk-fairy tale construction telling of a duke and a conundrum over time with witty twists and turns. School Librarian Thurber's coinages for sound-effects, the eccentric logic of the characters' deductions, and the slipping in and out of rhyme all make the story ask to be read aloud, promising great fun for both adult and child readers. Carousel Profound, witty and terrific to read aloud. Irish Post Clocks has many traditional ingredients of a fairy tale - a wicked duke in a spooky castle; his beautiful ward; a handsome young prince and an impossible task; plus a monster and a helper. Out of these, Thurber whips up the most delicious, light and frothy confection. -- Mary Hoffman Mslexia 5 Books every child should read by the time they are 11. Joanna Nadin, author of 'Penny Dreadful is a Magnet for Disaster'. Big Issue
New York Review of Books
Place of Publication
Country of Publication