The Wonderful O, Hardback

The Wonderful O Hardback

Illustrated by Marc Simont

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 80 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Adventure
  • ISBN: 9781590173091



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Two pirates meet in a tavern one with a map, the other with a ship. Off they go to find the island called Ooroo and a hidden treasure. Once they arrive we find that one of them hates the letter "O" and while they take over the small island looking for the jewels they decide to forbid the existence of the letter 'O' in writing and speech by the inhabitants. This causes immense problems as one can imagine.On the top this is a silly little story with a lot of fun wordplay while underneath it is a story of the fight for freedom. A fun romp that children old enough to manipulate the removal of the 'O's in words will surely enjoy. The message underneath is clear enough and one roots for the islanders to rid themselves of these treasure-hungry dictatorial pirates. Marc Simont is not one of my favourite illustrators as he does get into doing some awfully dark blotchy shadowy paintings but fortunately they appear only a few times in this book. His sketches on the other hand have a delightful comic appeal to them and are completely entertaining. This is a classic children's book and I advise waiting till the child is old enough to read on his own as the wordplay looses its effect when read-aloud. Not Thurber's best children's book, as I can remember that would be Many Moons, but certainly a fun romp for the older kids by one of America's greatest humourists.

Review by

This is a clever story about a group of pirates who take over an island looking for treasure. The pirate leader, named "Black," has an obsessive hatred for the letter "O." He bans the use of the letter and orders the destruction of anything with an "O" in its name."A man named Otto Ott, when asked his name, could only stutter. Ophelia Oliver repeated hers, and vanished from the haunts of men."The novel (first published 1957) is chiefly about the pleasures of language, but there is also a clear call for freedom of speech. Though it is presented as children's literature, readers younger than high school age would probably need adult help with The Wonderful O because of the advanced vocabulary (e.g. "nocturnal somnolence") and the references to figures from mythology and folklore.

Review by

“Taking a single letter from the alphabet," he said, "should make life simpler.""I don't see why. Take the F from life and you have lie. It's adding a letter to simple that makes it simpler. Taking a letter from hoarder makes it harder.”