Author(s): James Thurber
Now in paperback
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 ("who yearned to find in a far land the maiden 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.
The New York Review Children's Collection is pleased to announce that in Fall 2015 we are publishing our first children's books in paperback. James Thurber's fairytale The 13 Clocks is one of the two books that we will publish in paperback this season-a timeless classic of children's literature, and one that has dazzled generations of readers.
"The 13 Clocks t"ook apart and lovingly reconstructed the fairy tale long before William Steig wrote Shrek or William Goldman penned "The Princess Bride." Sonja Bolle, "The Los Angeles Times" There are spies, monsters, betrayals, hair s-breadth escapes, spells to be broken and all the usual accouterments, but Thurber gives the proceedings his own particular deadpan spin . . . It all makes for a rousing concoction of adventure, humor and satire that defies any conventional classification. William Joyce, author of "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" This dark and delightful fable mixes together all the ingredients of traditional tales . . . and comes up with a sublimelyentertaining concoction. . . . Thurber s sly humor and shameless use of puns and wordplay make the story a joy to read out loud. And the suitably mysterious illustrations by Marc Simont add the perfect atmospheric touch to this unusual tale. Terri Schmitz, "The Horn Book" Rich with ogres and oligarchs, riddles and wit. What distinguishes it is not just quixotic imagination but Thurber s inimitable delight in language. The stories beg to be read aloud . . . Thurber captivates the ear and captures the heart. "Newsweek" The 13 Clocks, first published in 1950, still deserves its reputation as a modern classic, and ranks as one of Thurber s finest works . . . .Thurber pioneers the postmodern, ironic fairy story. "Publishers Weekly""
James Thurber (1894--1961) was one of the outstanding American humorists and cartoonists of the twentieth century, writing 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. The New York Review Children's Collection publishes The Wonderful O by Thurber (illustrated by Marc Simont). 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. Marc Simont (1915-2013) illustrated nearly one hundred books, working with authors such as Margaret Wise Brown, James Thurber, and Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. He is also the author of several books, and the translator of poems by Garcia Lorca and others. Simont received the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations to A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry. He collaborated with Ruth Krauss on The Backward Day (also published by The New York Review Children's Collection) and The Happy Day, which is a Caldecott Honor Book. Simont illustrated James Thurber's The 13 Clocks and The Wonderful O, both available from The New York Review Children's Collection.