The Wonderful O

The Wonderful O

Book - 1957
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Black and Littlejack are bad men. Littlejack has a map that indicates the existence of a treasure on a far and lonely island. He needs a ship to get there. Black has a ship. So they team up and sail off on Black's vessel, the Aeiu . "A weird uncanny name," remarks Littlejack, "like a nightbird screaming." Black explains that it's all the vowels except for O. O 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 of the far and lonely island 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 he will purge it of O.

The vicissitudes visited on the islanders by Black and Littlejack, 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 tyrannical 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. 
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, 1957.
ISBN: 9781590173091
Branch Call Number: J THU
Additional Contributors: Simont, Marc - Illustrator


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
ColemanRidge Sep 23, 2011

This is to read aloud, because it is all about the sound and shape of words. You can read it to children who can't read yet. They will hear some of the Os and see others on the page. They will have a sense that they are missing something, but that is all to the good: they will want to read when the time comes. In the meantime, pirates, men in black cloaks, treasure maps, and the final intervention of word spirits will keep them happy.

Cdnbookworm May 18, 2011

A pirate with a map meets up with another pirate with a boat and crew and they sail to the island or Ooroo where there is supposed to be treasure buried. The map they have doesn't have the location, and they ransack the island looking for it.
The captain of the boat hates the letter O and gradually tries to rid the island of it, either taking the Os out of words, or getting rid of the things themselves. The islanders plot to defeat the pirates, finding the important O words that will enable them to have the power.
Interesting but not a favourite.

Jan 21, 2010

When a wacky pirate named Black and his fellow buccaneer Littlejack land on an island that doesn?t yield up treasure as quickly as the scurvy knaves would like, Black takes out his anger by stripping the land of the letter O, which he?s hated every since his mother got stuck in a porthole and had to be pushed out instead of pulled in. Lacking this valuable vowel means big changes for the island of Ooroo?which is now known as just ?r.? Geese have to stay together?if one wanders off, it risks becoming a forbidden goose. Owls can?t hoot?they can?t even be owls. Cats can?t meow, dogs are verboten. The islanders can?t read books, or cook food, or even live in houses. Instead, they have to read magazines, eat snacks, and live in shacks. Shoe becomes she and woe becomes we; life gets very confusing indeed. But these folk are not about to give up without a fight. They keep their poodle dogs?they just speak French and proclaim their canines to be chiens caniche. They meet secretly in the forest where they utter the prohibited letter in hushed but defiant whispers. And, led by clever Andreus and the even wiser Andrea, they refuse to give up on hope, love, valor, and freedom. This children?s classic, first published in 1957, has been rediscovered the republished as part of the New York Review Children?s Collection. Author James Thurber?s wordplay is remarkable?the rhythm of the narrative dips and dives and sings and rhymes, and the jaunty illustrations by Marc Simont add vigor and zest to a sprightly little fable that is already instructive, creative, worldly, and wise.


Add a Quote
ColemanRidge Sep 23, 2011

“Where are you ging?” the woman asked her husband.
“Ut!” he snapped.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top