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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590172759
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 07/29/2008
Series: New York Review Children's Collection Series
Pages: 136
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

James Thurber (1894—1961), one of the outstanding American humorists and cartoonists of the twentieth century, was born in Columbus, Ohio, and launched his professional writing career as a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch in 1920. He began writing for The New Yorker in 1927 after his friend E. B. White got him a job at the magazine. Though hampered by failing eyesight, Thurber wrote nearly forty books, including collections of essays, short stories, fables, and children’s stories. He won a Tony Award for his popular Broadway play, A Thurber Carnival.

Marc Simont (1915-2013) 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. He is the illustrator for The New York Review Children’s Collection books The Backward Day and The Wonderful O.

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. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in the United States.

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The 13 Clocks 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The 13 Clocks is a very interesting, slightly non-linear story. The story has a great humor about it that really celebrates the beauty of words. It is all about the words. It is great to read and great to read aloud. Like I said the story is not overly linear and the reader does need to fill in some bits for themselves, but for some reason that really works for the story rather then against it. I would highly recommend reading The 13 Clocks.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 :-)
kvanuska on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
James Thurber's humor shines in this tale of the cold evil Duke who holds the Princess SaraLinda hostage while putting off suitors with impossible tasks. But thanks to the marvelous Golux, as unique of a character one's likely to find in fiction, there is a Prince who might succeed, if only he can make Hagga weep jewels before it's too late. For the young and the young of heart, this book is a treasure not to be missed.
tapestry100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not quite sure what to make of James Thurber's The 13 Clocks. To be honest, the biggest reason that it caught my eye was the introduction by Neil Gaiman. Then I discovered it was on the 1001 Books list, so I thought that it would be worth picking up. And it was; but I just don't know what to think of it. In his introduction, Gaiman says that The 13 Clocks is one of the best books ever written, or something like that. I have to agree that it is a fun book, but calling it one of the best books ever written I think is stretching it a bit far.The 13 Clocks is a hard book to label; is it YA? A child's fairy tale? Something written for adults? I can honestly say yes to all these questions. It has just about every aspect of the typical fairy tale present: there is a damsel in distress, an evil duke, a prince who comes to the rescue, impossible tasks, magical creatures, curses and a happily ever after. The Princess Saralinda is something of a captive to her wicked 'uncle,' the Duke, who is actually not her uncle, but her kidnapper, and who plans to marry her on her 21st birthday. She has had many suitors over the years, but each the Duke gives an impossible task to complete for her hand, or he simply kills them for practically no reason. Along comes the prince, Zorn of Zorna, disguised as a traveling minstrel, who goes on an impossible quest set forth by the Duke. Accompanying Zorn is the Golux, who seems to be something of a wizard, but maybe not, and together they accomplish the task, but just barely. I'm giving nothing away here, as we all know how these fairy tales end, and this particular tale follows in the footsteps of every one before it.Marc Simont's illustration are very simplistic, but they match the tone and feel of the story perfectly. I found them a fresh accompaniment to the story.Don't take me the wrong way, I really enjoyed reading The 13 Clocks. Thurber created a fun little story, but I'm just not 100% convinced that it deserves the amounts of praise that has been heaped on it, though.
jenniferthomp75 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, wickedly weird fairy tale with great characters and a fun storyline. The drawings are magnificent and add so much to the tale. Pick it up if you've never read it!
Neftzger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you love cleverly written fantasy books, it doesn't get much better than the 13 Clocks. The story takes you on a wild and yet slightly farcical ride as you follow the prince's efforts to win the hand of the princess from her wicked Uncle. Yes, this book has the classic elements of a fairy tale but it's also filled with imaginative interpretations of everyday things such as the Duke who killed time (an event which left blood on his sleeves). This is a children's book and a short read, but well worth the time.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites from childhood, this is a charming fairy tale with a lot of humor. I can read it again and again.
Amy_Neftzger More than 1 year ago
If you love cleverly written fantasy books, it doesn't get much better than the 13 Clocks. The story takes you on a wild and yet slightly farcical ride as you follow the prince's efforts to win the hand of the princess from her wicked Uncle. Yes, this book has the classic elements of a fairy tale but it's also filled with imaginative interpretations of everyday things such as the Duke who killed time (an event which left blood on his sleeves). This is a children's book and a short read, but well worth the time.
BRF More than 1 year ago
The Thirteen Clocks is too long to be a short story, too short to be a novel but is a "just right" novella. It is in the company of "The Old Man and the Sea," "Of Mice and Men," and "Call of the Wild." This novella is a fable, fairy tail, and fantasy. James Thurber weaves a tale of the just and right prince Zorn prevailing over an evil Duke by performing seemingly impossible tasks. Saralinda is as her name suggests, is both beautiful and a princess and is also the key to this story. This is a fitting book for children and adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The Thirteen Clocks" is a really fantastic book. I happened to read it in a Barnes & Noble store on a whim, and I couldn't get it out of my head. I had to buy my own copy. If you love literature and fantasy stories, you have to read this book. It's very unique--it seems like a story for children, with a princess and an evil duke, but I think it's really geared more towards adults. It's full of whimsical characters, like a spy named Whisper and an evil duke with "a voice like iron dropped on velvet." The language is perfectly crafted, and rhymes just when it has too. And of course the Golux, with his "indescribable" hat, who is full of surprises. He probably owns a copy of this book himself, and his only problem with the story is that he wishes that Princess Saralinda had a little more personality. Buy this book!
tapestry100 More than 1 year ago
The 13 Clocks is a hard book to label; is it YA? A child's fairy tale? Something written for adults? I can honestly say yes to all these questions. It has just about every aspect of the typical fairy tale present: there is a damsel in distress, an evil duke, a prince who comes to the rescue, impossible tasks, magical creatures, curses and a happily ever after. The Princess Saralinda is something of a captive to her wicked 'uncle,' the Duke, who is actually not her uncle, but her kidnapper, and who plans to marry her on her 21st birthday. She has had many suitors over the years, but the Duke gives each an impossible task to complete for her hand, or he simply kills them for practically no reason. Along comes the prince, Zorn of Zorna, disguised as a traveling minstrel, who goes on an impossible quest set forth by the Duke. Accompanying Zorn is the Golux, who seems to be something of a wizard, but maybe not, and together they accomplish the task, but just barely. I'm giving nothing away here, as we all know how these fairy tales end, and this particular tale follows in the footsteps of every one before it. Marc Simont's illustration are very simplistic, but they match the tone and feel of the story perfectly. I found them a fresh accompaniment to the story. Don't take me the wrong way, I enjoyed reading The 13 Clocks. Thurber created a fun little story, but I'm just not 100% convinced that it deserves the amounts of praise that has been heaped on it.
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