Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The 13 1/2 Lives Of Captain Bluebear

This charmingly illustrated novel (by the author Walter Moers no less) is narrated by Captain Bluebear, who has 27 lives. However, this tale will only cover 13 1/2 of his lives, because "...a bear's got to have his secrets." Each chapter is devoted to one of his lives. He is first found floating in the vast ocean in a tiny nutshell and hauled aboard a ship by the Minipirates (pirates who excel in sailing the seas, even though most have never seen them). They regretfully have to maroon him on an island once his speedy growth threatens to sink their ship. Captain Bluebear must then continue to navigate through many adventures; learning speech from the "Babbling Billows" (what appear to be waves in a vast ocean), acting as the eyes to an aging dinosaur, and attending the Nocturnal academy. Upon his graduation, he is given a mental copy of an encyclopedia, written by Professor Nightingale. This encyclopedia will come to aid him plenty of times in his further adventures.

A cult classic across Europe, this fantasy novel predates the Harry Potter series. One wonders if J.K. Rowling was inspired by one of the last chapters which spoke about the philosopher's stone (The U.K. title for the first Harry Potter was Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone). This was a great fantasy novel with many subtle themes that made it unlike any other fantasy novel I have ever read. It comes highly recommended. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Brian said...

"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" came out in 1997, two years before this book.