The Wonderful O tells of a man named Black who despised the letter "O". He deleted it from his language and omitted it from his words. Opals, moonstones, owls and oaks could not possibly be his items of choice. He preferred emeralds, rubies, sapphires and maps. At least they had no "O". Soon he wanted his entire village to omit the letter "O". But the villagers found words they would not do without HOPE, LOVE, VALOR, and the most important one of all.
©1957 James Thurber (P)1997 New Millennium
"A playful allegory on love, valor and freedom, and a ceaseless romp with wordplay." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Wonderful O, published in 1957, is a tale for children, and a reminder for adults, of the joys of love, liberty, language and, not least, humor. It has pirates and treasure and magic and a message that especially in complacent times must not be forgotten... The Wonderful O is a book worth finding, wherever you can, and reading, as one of its characters concludes, 'lest we forget.'" (The Wall Street Journal)
"Among James Thurber's 30 books were several for children. Two reader favorites of the Fifties, The Thirteen Clocks and The Wonderful O, have returned, illustrations by Marc Simont intact. These are funny, richly textured stories that pile on the fantasy and will make middle readers laugh a lot." (The Record, NJ)
The Wonderful O shows Thurber at his most playful and witty in his mastery of story and language. I first read this in my teens and have never forgotten it.
The tale is one of great relevance to today's world. I recommend it most highly and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Melissa Manchester gives an inspired reading.
Be aware that there is a strange sort of half summary before the real tale begins. This summary is not part of the book and feels as if it is a truncated something left here by mistake.
"Poem or Puzzle or Plot?"
What a quirky little thing this turned out to be—like a collaboration between Dr. Seuss and Robert Frost. I can’t help but wonder if “The Wonderful O” features on Carol Vorderman’s must-read list?!
As an avid fan of the English language, this novella pushed all my pleasure buttons. But some of those buttons were pushed just slightly too firmly for a tad too long. As a concept piece, it could have done with some editing. However, as a work of narrative fiction it was actually pretty darn satisfying and memorable.
I believe the printed version has some delightful illustrations. So that may make a case against this audio version. But Phoenix Audio must’ve known they were competing against a multisensory print-version and decided to jazz up their audio version with (almost constant) sound-effects and soundtrack. Personally I found it enhanced the experience. And Melissa Manchester did not narrate – she performed. And it was fantastic.
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