The Wonderful O by James ThurberRandom House
Littlejack has a map that indicates the existence of a treasure on a far and lonely island, and Black has a ship to get there. So the two bad men team up and sail off on Black’s vessel, the Aeiu. The name, Black explains, is all the vowels except for O—which he hates since his mother got wedged in a porthole: They couldn’t pull her in, so they had to push her out. Black and Littlejack arrive at the port and demand the treasure. No one knows anything about it, so they have their henchmen ransack the place—to no avail. But Black has a better idea: He will take over the island and purge it of O. (“I’ll issue an edict!”)
The harsh limits of a life sans O (where shoe is she and woe is we) and how finally with a little luck and lots of pluck the islanders shake off their overbearing interlopers and discover the true treasure for themselves (Oh yes—and get back their O’s)—these are only some of the surprises that await readers of James Thurber’s timelessly zany fairy tale about two louts who try to lock up the language—and lose. It is a tour de force of wordplay that will delight fans of Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear, and Roald Dahl, and a timely reminder of how people can band together in the name of freedom to overthrow a tyrant.
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