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#95 Walter Moers: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

Walter Moers: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

Paperback: 704 pages
Translated: John Brownjohn
Publisher: Vintage (1 Nov 2001)
ISBN-10: 0099285320
Category(ies): Fantasy/YA

Hamburg writer Moers has created one of those classics of children's literature that carries one away through an odd world of creatures and places. It tell the tale of a blue bear (and an eponymous one at that), through the first half of his allotted 27 lives. He starts small, found cast adrift in a walnut shell, and is taken in by the Minipirates, the finest sailors and doughtiest fighters of the Zamorian Sea. However, since they're so tiny no-one even notices their ship, their fame is sadly aborted.

And so it goes. Bluebear soon grows too large to stay with the tiny buccaneers and is off elsewhere. He undergoes many fantastical adventures, each one shifting him on a chapter, and on a life, ending the book in his 14th life.

The internal logic is somewhat screwy - deliberately so. It has that refusal to abide by grown-up rules that so often characterises good children's literature. In some ways, it most reminds me of The Phantom Tollbooth. If only there'd been more books like this around when I was a child.
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