Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear

My friend Slim bought this book for Brian and Sean (her kids love the book). Brian read it first; then when Sean was bored in Singapore, he started skimming through the pages. This was in July this year.

Now Sean's totally engrossed and reading every page of this 700-page tome, twice-over and more (closer to 6 times). He hogs the book 24/7, and Brian would peer over to read too, within minutes, an argument would break out as both want the book nearer to themselves. I'll probably get another copy on my coming trip to Singapore.

The book is actually translated from German, which makes me wonder how many more great, fun reads there are in other languages that we are missing. An excerpt from the Foreword of this book will give you an idea of why the boys are so enthralled by it, the author Walter Moer creates a whimsical tale filled with magical creatures and worlds that little boys can so easily get lost in:

I should be lying (and everyone knows I'm not a liar by nature) if I claimed my first thirteen-and-a-half lives were uneventful. What about the minipirates? What about the Hobgoblins, the Spiderwitch, the Babbling Billows, the Trogotroll, the Mountain Maggot? What about the Alpine Imp, the headless Bollogg, the Bolloggless head, the nomadic Muggs, the Captive Mirage, the Yetis and Bluddums, the Eternal Tornado, the Rickshaw Demons? What about the Venomous Vampires, the Gelatine Prince from the 2364th Dimension, the Professor with Seven Brains, the Demerara Desert, Knio the Barbaric Hog, the Wolperting Whelps, the Cogitating Quicksand, the Noontide Ghouls, the Infurno, the Ship with a Thousand Funnels? What about Gourmet Island, Tornado City, the Sewer Dragon, the Duel of Lies, dimensional hiatuses, Voltigorkian Vibrobassists, rampaging Mountain Dwarfs? What about the Invisibles, the Norselanders, the Venetian Midgets, the Midgard Serpent, the revolting Kackertrants, the Valley of Discarded Ideas, the Witthogs, the Big-Footed Bertts, the Humongous Mountains? What about Earspoonlets, Time-Snails, Diabolic Elves, Mandragors, Olfactils, the Upper Jurassic Current, the smell of Genff? Mine is a tale of mortal danger and eternal love, of hair's breadth, last-minute excapes...But I mustn't get ahead of myself!

The author illustrates the book himself, and Sean loves poring over his drawings as much as he loves reading his writing. Highly recommended for kids (and adults) with quirky tastes in books.


bACk in GERMANY said...

Oh... there's gonna be a play Kaep'tan Blaubaer here soon or is it now? I remember walking past a poster and Bryan just stood mesmerized and refused to budge.

But nope, we don't know anything about the tale yet. Certainly sounds exciting from the foreword.

Lilian said...

If it's playing now, should take the kids there. I think my kids would go even though they don't know German.

It's a lovely book to read aloud too. I saw somewhere that it's actually a child's fairy/fantasy tale written for adults so it's not really just a kid's book. Illustrations are pretty funny, think little pirates born with 2 wooden stumps for legs, 2 hooks for hands, even an eye-patch. I've only read a few pages myself when I was in the car yesterday.