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Thirteen Clocks

Thirteen Clocks

by James Thurber, Marc Simont (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 124 pages
Current Retail Price: $14.95

“What would you do without me? Say 'nothing.'"
"Nothing," said the Prince.
"Good. Then you're helpless and I'll help you.”

Thirteen Clocks is a crazy, whimsical, and dark fairy tale about a cold duke and a warm princess who live in a castle where time froze to death, and the determined prince who comes to rescue the princess and restart the thirteen clocks with the help of his self-appointed sidekick, the indescribable Gollux.

Equally as indescribable is Thirteen Clocks itself—frantic may be a good word. Also madcap, or fantastical—an insane thrill ride through the fairy tale world of James Thurber, frenzied on by the quirky and wonderful illustrations of Marc Simont. It's not enough to say that every line is a play on words; some words are completely made up. Other lines are rhymes, or unabashed alliteration, or even words that shouldn't make sense in context but absolutely do.

But it's not all fun and whimsy; there's a side of darkness to the story that is not completely lightened by the humor. There's the cruel duke, who tears the wings off nightingales and murders children who sleep in his camellias; or the many ways he threatens to kill Saralinda's suitors (he'll slit you from your guggle to your zatch, and feed you to the Todal); or, most terrifying of all, the Todal itself, an agent of the devil sent to punish evildoers for having done less evil than they should. The Todal is a blob of glup. It gleeps. What is gleeping you may ask? No time for questions, move along.

Of course Good defeats Evil at the end, and gets to sail off to the Isle of Ever After, while Evil gets glupped by the Blob that gleeps. That's only to be expected. But there's really nothing quite like this unpredictable and charming fairy tale. It is undoubtedly the only one there ever was.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Fighting/violence
Summary: The indescribable Gollux helps a young prince rescue Saralinda from the evil Duke.

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