Archive | August 2016

Who Knew How Important a Vowel Could Be?

Let’s continue to explore fantasy and I certainly hope you’re doing just that—whether it’s with The Adventure of Pinocchio or The Magic Fishbone, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,
The Hobbit, Watership Down
(one of my favorites) or (how I love) the late Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men, part of his Discworld series.

Enter James Thurber. His zany world includes catering to Princess Lenore and making a hero out of Walter Mitty. Today, let’s talk about the very funny and very poignant story, The Wonderful O. Let me whet your appetite.

 The Wonderful O

Littlejack, a pirate, met Black in a tavern near the sea. Littlejack’s goal: to find an island rich with jewels, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. He teams up with Black to hunt for treasure. Their ship was the Aeiu. The island they sailed to was Ooroo. It was Black who hated O—he lost his mother at sea (she was stuck in a porthole, they couldn’t pull her in, so they had to push her out.)

They arrive at Ooroo and tell the people that they have come for their jewels. The gentle islanders tell them they have no jewels. Black grinned and showed his lower teeth. “Take the town apart,” he cried and the crew did. And so Black overtook the gentle island, and unable to find the treasure, he vowed then and there to rid everything with an “O.” Cnfusin reigned.

He even took the “O”s out of Ooroo and called the island “R.” But, the islanders still had VALOR. That night, the townspeople met in the woods to plan a solution. Their leader was Andreas, a poet. Meanwhile, Black and Littlejack continued their silly escapades to rid the island of O.

Language diminished. The secret meetings continued and Hyde, a sinister lawyer, spied on them. Black ordered more destruction and “Babies often made as much sense as their fathers.” (Told you it was funny.)

Andrea, a beautiful maiden, searched her father’s library for a secret and a spell to confound the pirates. She found an ancient book of magic. At the meeting, Andrea spoke up. “Be not afraid to speak with O’s. We cannot live or speak without HOPE. Hope contains the longest O of all. We mustn’t lose it.” Andrea gave Andreas the book she found in her father’s library, The Enchanted Castle. With it, they formed a plan. Andrea spoke at their next meeting. “There are four words with O. You mustn’t lose them. Find out what they are and use them.”

And the townspeople did. “HOPE is one,” said Andreas. “And LOVE,” said Andrea. “And VALOR, I should think,” the old man said. And then they tried to find the fourth.

You will delighted to discover the meaning behind The Wonderful O.

Next time, we talk about fiction. May your summer reading be meaningful and memorable.

Alice’s Wonderland, Georgie’s Rabbit Hill, and Half Magic’s Reach

Hi there!
In earlier posts we heard Aslan of Narnia and enjoyed visits from Winnie-the-Pooh and
The Ugly Duckling, thanks to my favorite writer and master storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen.

Today we explore the literary fairy tale, fantasy. It is a favorite medium of allegory.
No wonder it is my favorite type of children’s story. In fantasy, we see the pure imagination of Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Doolittle that, in mid twentieth century, was made into a film, originally with Rex Harrison and remade by Eddie Murphy.
Fantasy takes reality and extends it. And how we need it in a modern world!

I’d like to introduce two not-so-common stories to discover and share with our children while mentioning one of Andersen’s famous stories.


 Travers, P.L. Mary Poppins Opens the Door. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1943.
“The Marble Boy”

With Mary Poppins, Michael and Jane had no ordinary walk. At the lake, the children notice an old man reading Just So Stories, ladies wheeling prams, and children skipping along. Then they notice a statue of a marble boy with his dolphin. It is the mythological figure, Neleus, looking longingly at the water. The Banks children end up having great fun and adventures with their new friend while the people at the lake speak to the marble boy and acting like nothing out of the ordinary is happening! Discover what they found in your library, through Amazon, or in audio in

 Clarke, Pauline. The Return of the Twelves. New York: Coward-McCann, 1962
“The Four Genii”

Marching Wooden Toy Soldiers


Pauline Clarke’s book is a story within a story about famous storytellers! Her book title references what Branwell, the only brother of the Brontë sisters, wrote, History of the Young Men, about the imaginary adventures of wooden soldiers. The book chapter,“The Four Genii” refers to the Brontë children: Branwell, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. The protagonist in The Return of the Twelves, Young Max, finds twelve of Branwell’s soldiers in an attic of his Yorkshire home, not far from Haworth, the former Brontë family home. Max’s affection for the soldiers brings them to life; they freeze around others. The soldiers tell Max of the time a century ago when the four genii loved them and imagined wonderful adventures for them.

Talk about peeling an onion! But, great fun to read. Find it on Amazon, in your friendly library, or through Goodreads.


I’ll finally leave you to reread The Nightingale, Hans Christen Andersen’s beautiful story about the sweet and haunting music this bird sings and how it taught wisdom to an emperor.

Fantasy allows us to reach into new worlds so that our sense of wonder can continue.

Next time, I’ll reflect on another fantasy. Until then, may your visits with these stories bring new knowledge, unearthed treasure, and much happiness to your minds and hearts.