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Wonder Clock [Hardcover]

Howard Pyle
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 31.67 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

January 1990
"Four and twenty marvellous tales, one for each hour of the day," retold in a novel and entertaining manner by a master of the form. While drawing on German, English, and Scandinavian folk literature for many of his characters and plots, Pyle reworks the material in an imaginative way, crafting the tales in his own inimitable style. Equally engaging are the numerous woodcuts that accompany the stories and enliven the narrative. Suitable for ages 7 and up.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Review

“Pyle was one of the late nineteenth century writers who helped invent the fairy tale novel.” —Jane Yolen
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

“Pyle was one of the late nineteenth century writers who helped invent the fairy tale novel.” —Jane Yolen

Famous and influential as a preeminent illustrator, Howard Pyle was also a gifted writer beloved by millions — young and old — for his endearing and enchanting fairy tales. The Wonder Clock is a delightful, magical collection of whimsical stories: twenty-four stories for twenty-four hours. And each a timeless masterpiece. Peopled with jolly kings and queens, lovely princesses and evil witches, sly foxes and mischievous ravens, ogres and giants, dashing princes and nasty dragons, these are old fashioned fairly tales in the best and most beautiful sense that can be enjoyed by readers of any age.

This edition also includes Pyle’s dazzling illustrations.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of storytelling and illustration: Jan. 11 2003
Format:Paperback
This book has been in my family for four generations, the 1912 edition having been given to my father by his grandmother in 1948.
The premise of the story is given in the introduction; the narrator happens upon a marvelous clock in Father Time's attic, which strikes the hour with songs and puppet dances. Twenty-four stories follow, one for each hour of the day. Each story begins with a verse that corresponds to the hour of the day: lighting the fire, preparing breakfast, sending the children to school, making the noonday meal, milking, tea, bedtime. The verses alone are fascinating, as they bring to life the househould routines of a very different era.
The stories are illustrated with Howard Pyle's remarkable drawings. Each tale has a frontispiece for the title, and the beginning of the text and each picture caption is heralded with a large ornmental letter like those in illuminated manuscripts. The illustrations are gorgeous. Pyle was fond of capturing scenes of nobility and royal splendour, pastoral life, and witchcraft. Some are stylized portraits of princesses in exquisite gowns and classic poses, while others demonstrate Pyle's gift for caricature and expression.
The stories themselves are wonderful, full of heroes and heroines, bravery, beauty, wits and trickery. Although there are allusions to mystic and Christian themes, and to folklore and fables, most of the stories will be unfamiliar and fresh to modern readers. The langauge is rich with metaphor, droll imagery, and dialogue that is made to be read aloud. As with Aesop's fables, the stories are meant to instruct, but the morals take a back seat to the storytelling, at least until the conclusion of each tale, and a great deal is left up to the reader to interpret.
This was my favorite book as a child, and I still turn to it on sleepless nights. But our beloved family heirloom is growing very delicate, so I am very glad that the book is still in print. I hope to share it with my own children someday.
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5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable nineteenth century children's fables Feb. 18 2003
Format:Hardcover
The narrator of the twenty-four stories (plus an introduction) finds a special clock in Father Time's attic, which strikes on the hour with songs and puppet dances. "Four and twenty marvelous tales, one for each hour of the day" all start with a verse to coincide with that particular hour. Drawings are included to add further depth. Each ends with a morality lesson, which never interferes with the story, but helps wrap up that entry.
This nineteenth century collection is remarkable in different ways depending on the reader. The tales provide insight into daily household life and the morality of a bygone era. The contributions also furbish delightful fairy tales for the young at heart that are enhanced by superb figures of speech and tremendous illustrations with a finale moral lesson. This collection is a winner and will send many a reader searching for other works by Howard Pyle.
Harriet Klausner
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Howard Pyle's storytelling style is wonderfully elegant. His prose has so many fantastic turns of phrase, and the stories themselves feel very fresh, yet familiar. The illustrations that he did to accompany his stories are perfect. Even after over 100 years they all hold up and are executed flawlessly.
I used to check this book out at the library when I was a child over and over again - and it holds up to what I remembered which doesn't happen often. I'm so happy to be able to read it again!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A four generation read aloud treat Aug. 23 2000
By G. Becker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
My father heard these stories as a child. He read them to me. I read them to my kids and my grandkids. The vocabulary, the cadences, the varied plots and the sheer magic of these tales is timeless. The poems at the beginning of each chapter are related to the hours. Kids insist that you read them too. Pyle always sees to it that bullies, evil magicians, cheaters and older nasty siblings get their comeuppance. Little ones enjoy that aspect. Great archaic words are dusted off along with long disused similies and metaphores. It's the kind of book that comes to mind when you meet a bright eyed new child who has read everything else or seen everything else. At age 70 I still keep a copy in my bed's head board. Rap, tap, tap he knocked at the door.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of storytelling and illustration: Jan. 11 2003
By lindyjulie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has been in my family for four generations, the 1912 edition having been given to my father by his grandmother in 1948.
The premise of the story is given in the introduction; the narrator happens upon a marvelous clock in Father Time's attic, which strikes the hour with songs and puppet dances. Twenty-four stories follow, one for each hour of the day. Each story begins with a verse that corresponds to the hour of the day: lighting the fire, preparing breakfast, sending the children to school, making the noonday meal, milking, tea, bedtime. The verses alone are fascinating, as they bring to life the househould routines of a very different era.
The stories are illustrated with Howard Pyle's remarkable drawings. Each tale has a frontispiece for the title, and the beginning of the text and each picture caption is heralded with a large ornmental letter like those in illuminated manuscripts. The illustrations are gorgeous. Pyle was fond of capturing scenes of nobility and royal splendour, pastoral life, and witchcraft. Some are stylized portraits of princesses in exquisite gowns and classic poses, while others demonstrate Pyle's gift for caricature and expression.
The stories themselves are wonderful, full of heroes and heroines, bravery, beauty, wits and trickery. Although there are allusions to mystic and Christian themes, and to folklore and fables, most of the stories will be unfamiliar and fresh to modern readers. The langauge is rich with metaphor, droll imagery, and dialogue that is made to be read aloud. As with Aesop's fables, the stories are meant to instruct, but the morals take a back seat to the storytelling, at least until the conclusion of each tale, and a great deal is left up to the reader to interpret.
This was my favorite book as a child, and I still turn to it on sleepless nights. But our beloved family heirloom is growing very delicate, so I am very glad that the book is still in print. I hope to share it with my own children someday.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bedtime favorite to 3 generations of Leadley boys July 29 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Wonder Clock book has been a favorite source of bedtime stories for three generations of Leadley boys (my father, myself and and my son). It is best read (and read and read ...) from ages 7 to 10. The book contains 24 separate faux fairy tales that are just the right length for a 15 minute bedtime story. The short stories are bound together by a metastory of the "wonder clock" that whisks the narrator off to observe and recount the other 24 tales. Each story is preceded by a short, illuminated poem, starts with a scrollwork capital and contains at least two wonderfully ornate illustrations. DO NOT buy a copy of this book which doesn't contain the original illustrations! They are part of the "wonder" for young readers. The stories are set in the Middle Ages somewhere in northern Europe (¿Belgium, Holland or southern Germany?) and feature lots of minor kings, princes, princesses, woodcutters, swineherds, ruffians, rogues and magical creatures.

Caveats:
1) Although the Wonder Clock book can be read alone by precocious readers as early as second grade, I would recommend a joint reading the first time through with asides on morality. It is my belief that the actions in stories that feature villians being dragged to death behind wild horses, beatings, blindings, whippings, etc. need to be given moral context when a young child is first exposed to them.
2) I'm not sure whether this book would have as powerful an appeal to girls. Among us, my grandfather, my father and I have only raised one girl out of ten children (my aunt) and don't have much experience to offer. Upon reading the book again from an adult prospective, I've found the female protagonists (the wise queen, the wise princess, the magical Swan Maiden, etc.) curiously passive. Even Princess Golden Hair, who treks to the end of the earth in search of her beloved husband banished by magic, seems unassertive.

Conclusion: Kids, especially boys, love it. Don't feed it to them unadulterated :-).
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to read aloud to kids at bedtime. Dec 7 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I agree with everything Scott Leadley said, with the additional comments that 1) my daughter, now 10, has always loved these stories as much as my son, in spite of the lack of active female characters (at least on the side of Good); 2) Pyle, like Kipling, understood how to write a story that would be read aloud to children. The paragraphs are short, the vocabulary pointed, and something interesting happens two or three times a page; 3) as Pyle admits in the introduction, the elements of the stories are extracted and mixed from classic fairy stories; for example, in one story the hero kills a dragon by digging a pit, waiting until the dragon crawls over him, and stabbing it in the belly, an obvious borrow from the event in the 'Volsunga Saga' in which the hero Sigurd kills Fafnir the dragon. If you know the older stories you'll enjoy spotting Pyle's sources.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars spectfantastimarveloso! March 16 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have been searching for this book for quite a while. The stories included are gloriously written and the illustrations are phenomenal. The reason I started looking for it again was because my Grandson will soon enjoy it. He is only 5 years old, but again, I started reading it (repeatedly) starting at age 7. I think I re-loaned it until my card was worn out! I will get him his very own copy and I know he will enjoy it as much as I.
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