by James Thurber
This is a very little book--a children's story book, all in one chapter. But it is also one of the finest modern fairy tales ever written. The version illustrated by Louis Slobodkin also won the Caldecott Medal for book art.
Once upon a time, a lovely little princess named Lenore fell ill. Her father, the King, dotes on her, and would do anything to help her get well. She says that if he gives her the moon, she will get well. Determined to get the moon for her, the King calls on all his wise counselors--the Lord High Chamberlain, the Royal Wizard, and the Royal Mathematician. After each one harangues the King with a list of the things they have done for him over the years, they all tell him that the thing is impossible.
Finally, the King summons the Court Jester, who discovers an ingenious way out of the problem. But then another problem arises, and again the wise counselors are unable to help, and again the Court Jester goes to the best source of information about how to help the Princess Lenore...the Princess Lenore herself!
As one might expect from this grand master of American wit and humor, this is a delightful, funny tale, enchanted by the magic of beautiful words. If you read this book at the age I originally read it, you may end up learning a lot of new words too--such as "surfeit," "ambergris," and "Samarkand." The poetry of this book is not wasted on children; they will be enchanted by it. Yet the older and more knowledgeable you are, I think, the more delight you will find in this pretty little book.
Recommended Age: 10+ (8+ if read to you)
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