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Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Wonderful O (1957) by James Thurber

Book Review
The Wonderful O (1957)
by James Thurber

   James Thurber wrote a series of five "short fairy-tale" books in the 1940s and 50s.   Thurber was a jack of all trades, but he is most famous for his New Yorker cartoons.  He also wrote plays and journalism.  The Wonderful O is the last of the five short fairy-tale books and the second to make it into the 1001 Books project.  The 13 Clocks is the other of his fairy-tales to make the 1001 Books list.  Both fall into the category of "children's fiction that is entertaining to adults," like Pixar movies or the Adventure Time cartoon.  Both books reminded me of something like a prose Dr. Seuss or a more benevolent Roald Dahl.

  The Wonderful O is literally about a couple of pirates who conquer a small island and systematically eradicate the letter "o" from both words and the things/animal/people those words describe.   These James Thurber fairy tales seem like a good gift for the young family who is at the stage where they are reading to their children.  The "appeals to adults" angle is a bit stretched, maybe a five in one volume where you get to read all of them at once, but having to hunt for each volume was a pain in the ass- some libraries file these under children's books and others as adult fiction/literature.

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