13 Clocks (Childrens Collection), The

James Thurber
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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-11-14

I have no idea why or how I ended up putting this one on hold. One of those random librarian moments I guess. Considering it was small, I hung on to it thinking I would get to it eventually. When Bout of Books came up, I knew it was a perfect time. I haven’t read much fairy tales but even I could see this was full of fairy tale tropes. The prince in disguise, the impossible task, the evil uncle…all these plus more made this like a giant “find the trope” read. A quick read by an author I haven’t read and a book that I want to give to my nephew to enjoy in a few years.

Reviewed: 2017-04-03
If The Phantom Tollbooth mated with A Series of Unfortunate Events, thier offspring was raised lovingly by Dr Seuss, then upon his tragic death William Goldman stepped up with the spirit of Neil Gaiman guiding his hand. With wonderful illustrations.
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