Buy New
$11.28
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $3.67 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The 13 Clocks has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The 13 Clocks Hardcover – July 29, 2008


See all 34 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$11.28
$8.47 $4.76
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$25.00
100%20Children%27s%20Books%20to%20Read%20in%20a%20Lifetime

Frequently Bought Together

The 13 Clocks + The Wonderful O (New York Review Children's Collection) + Many Moons
Price for all three: $29.17

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: NYR Children's Collection (July 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590172752
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590172759
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"There has never been anything like this before, and there will never be anything like this again…[Thurber] takes such delight in the words. It's like it's written by somebody who wants to infect you with his love of words. There are poems hidden in the text. There are places where it wanders into rhyme and out again. There are all of the invented words. The story itself is nonsense in the finest possible way." —Neil Gaiman, interviewed in The Wall Street Journal

"It's a modern take on the standard fairy tale... if you liked 'The Princess Bride,' you're going to like this. If you like a book by Jules Feiffer, 'A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears,' you'll like this. If you remember 'Fractured Fairy Tales' on Rocky and Bullwinkle, you'll like this. We suggest, read the beginning. We're not going to give away the plot, because it's all in the language with a book like this."  —Daniel Pinkwater, NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

"The great New Yorker humorist James Thurber wrote a few children's books, the best of which may be The 13 Clocks, a 1950 tale of a wicked duke who thinks he has stopped time. Newly reissued, with an intro by Neil Gaiman — who calls it ''probably the best book in the world'' — Clocks is the equal of any modern kid classic. By the time he wrote The 13 Clocks, Thurber was too blind to provide his own usual scratchy but vivid illustrations, so he enlisted his friend Marc Simont to do the drawings. Simont provided beautifully cartoonish yet subtle mini-paintings that convey Clocks' varying moods of gloom, menace, surprise, and joy." —Entertainment Weekly

 

"The 13 Clocks is one of the cleverest [fairytales] that any modern writer has been able to tell...there is no living author who moves about in fairyland with such wit and easy familiarity." —Time

 

"It's one of the great kids' books of the last century. It may be the best thing Thurber ever wrote. It's certainly the most fun that anybody can have reading anything aloud." —Neil Gaiman

 

"There are spys, 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." —LA Times

 

"My exemplary Thurber fairy tale is The 13 Clocks...a small masterpiece of respectful travesty honors the whole spectrum of the traditions." —The Hudson Review

 

"The 13 Clocks is especially wonderful." —The Washington Post

 

"Rich with ogres and oligarchs, riddles and wit. What distinguishes [The 13 Clocks] 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

 

"For true modern fairy tales we leave you with James Thurber...who wrote a tale...with charm and grace in The Thirteen Clocks. These I recommend if you are tired of Grimm." —ABC Radio

 

Thurber's stories are "for children to dream through and for adults to read as parables" —Guardian

 

"Everyone who reads to their children knows...to read the stuff that you love, or that you love to roll off your tongue...I'd put in a personal endorsement for James Thurber's The 13 Clocks here..." —Guardian

 

"Gothic, gruesome, and written with the wit of the master wordsmith.If you saw my copy, you'd believe me when I say I've read it more than 13 times." —Nicola Morgan, The Scotsman



From the Publisher

How can anyone describe this book? It isn't a parable, a fairy story or a poem, but rather a mixture of all three. It is beautiful and it is comic. It is philosophical and it is cheery. What we suppose we are trying fumblingly to say is, in a word, that it is Thurber.

There are only a few reasons why everybody has always wanted to read this kind of story, but they are basic:

Everybody has always wanted to love a Princess.

Everybody has always wanted to be a Prince.

Everybody has always wanted the wicked Duke to be punished.

Everybody has always wanted to live happily ever after.

Too little of this kind of thing is going on in the world today. But all of it is going on valorously in The 13 Clocks. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

James Thurber (1894-1961) created some thirty volumes of humor, fiction, children's books, cartoons, and essays in just about as many years. A founding member of The New Yorker staff, Thurber wrote and illustrated such enduring books as The Thurber Carnival and My Life and Hard Times, which have appeared in countless editions and dozens of languages throughout the world.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
87
4 star
10
3 star
8
2 star
0
1 star
5
See all 110 customer reviews
Read this book aloud to your kidlets so you don't miss out on the fun of his word choices.
Mom of 8
I wish I'd found this book long before I was 53 years old, but I am having a wonderful time reading it with my son.
Karen Hall
The water-color illustrations by Mark Simont are a perfect enhancement to the mood of the story.
Linda Bulger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on December 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to categorize "The Thirteen Clocks" -- is it a children's fairy tale? a book for grown-ups? Who cares? Readers from 5 to 95 will enjoy this wonderful book; the kids for the story and the adults for Thurber's marvelous way with words. It's a simple little fantasy tale of an abducted princess, a murderous duke, and the prince who comes to her rescue. And it starts off as all fairy tales should, with "Once upon a time..."

Thurber brings us the beautiful Princess Saralinda, the Duke of Coffin Castle who was so cold that he managed to stop time one snowy night when all thirteen clocks in the castle stopped at ten minutes to five and never started again, and Prince Zorn of Zorna, who called himself Xingu, the prince whose name begins with X and doesn't, who is the one man who can defeat the duke's evil plans and rescue Saralinda. But Thurber's best invention by far is the Golux, a spaced-out wizard whose spells have a way of backfiring from time to time, who assists Zorn in his quest to save the princess. And there is a deliciously spooky, never-seen monster called the Todal, that "smells of old, unopened rooms and sounds like rabbits screaming", who is the cold duke's infernal weapon, and, ultimately, his nemesis.

Thurber's way with words will leave you boggle-eyed. This is the quintessential read-aloud book and the kids love it. On the second or third reading they'll be chanting along with sentences like these: "The brambles and the thorns grew thick and thicker in a ticking thicket of bickering crickets..." And Thurber goes hogwild in making up all kinds of words that somehow managed to portray what he want to get across.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bulger VINE VOICE on April 20, 2008
James Thurber went to Bermuda to finish a book, and wrote The Thirteen Clocks instead. He says it was escapism and self-indulgence. If so, the world needs more self-indulgence, because this book is pure fun. It's a simple fairy tale, a book to be shared with a child. The water-color illustrations by Mark Simont are a perfect enhancement to the mood of the story.

The tale opens with an evil Duke in a gloomy castle--a Duke who is always cold. "We all have flaws," he says, "and mine is being wicked." (p. 114) The castle has thirteen clocks, all frozen at ten minutes to five. The lovely Princess Saralinda, "warm in every wind and weather," is the only warm thing in the castle and the Duke (her so-called uncle, though actually her kidnapper) purposefully thwarts all her suitors with tasks impossible to perform. When they have failed, he slits them from guggle to zatch and feeds them to the geese.

The Thirteen Clocks is built of standard fairy tale elements. A wandering minstrel who is really the youngest son of a king falls in love with Princess Saralinda and accepts a seemingly impossible test to win her hand. Assisted by a magical creature called Golux, he sets off to fulfill the test. Their progress is threatened by a number of unsavory characters; the Todal, for example, an agent of the devil sent to punish evil-doers for having done less evil than they should. Needless to say, all turns out well in the end.

The story itself may be standard, but the telling of it is typical Thurber wordplay. The Thirteen Clocks is not exactly poetry, but it begs to be read aloud for the rhythm, rhyme and alliteration. A particularly hectic passage from page 73 illustrates:

"The brambles and the thorns grew thick and thicker in a ticking thicket of bickering crickets.
Read more ›
22 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Shoemaker on October 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Thurber's "The Thirteen Clocks" is one of the best books ever written. The fairy-tale plot line appeals to both the young and the young at heart. No matter your age, after reading this book you will come away feeling like the world is not as rough of a place as it seemed about a half an hour ago. This book is also great to read to young children. While it doesn't have a poetic meter, the dialogue and narration progress in an almost sing-songy way that will hold the attention of even the most restless child.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John K. Tabor, Jr. on December 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
...the writing is so lyrical, the characters so funny, and characteristic of thurber, frought with human flaws while still being heroes, and each adventure solved, in the end, by wit and ingenuity. the prose is beautifully tight. it is written, like E.B. White, for the inner ear -- sonorous, and full of Thurber mischief. "I am the Golux, the one and only Golux -- and not a mere device." My eight-year old loves the rhythm. My 11 year old loves the humor, and I love thurber's wink to me about literary devices...for us, this book is always at hand for the sheer joy of reading it aloud.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Harris on September 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In summary form, "The Thirteen Clocks" will almost certainly come across as a clever but fairly conventional fairy tale, populated by amusing variants of the archetypal beautiful princess, wicked Duke, and poor-hero-who-isn't-what-he-seems. This is unfortunate, because while all of these characters are great fun, the real hero of this little book is the English language. Few authors are as skilled as Thurber when it comes to playing with words, and in "The Thirteen Clocks," verbal gems pop out of almost every page. Moreover, when it comes to making up new words for comedic or literary effect, only Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" does it better - you'll not find "guggle" or "zatch" in an anatomy textbook, but in the context of the tale, their meaning is both perfectly clear and perfectly hilarious (also perfectly clean - this is definitely an all-ages book). I'd offer more examples, but that would deprive you of the joy of discovering them for yourself - and not even a Todal in full gleep could make me do that.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?