by Michael Ende, published 1979
“Soon all Fantasica would learn of the good deed he had done. It ha really been unselfish, since no one could claim that he had wished anything for himself. There would be nothing to mar the glory of his goodness.”
Almost written like a classic morality play, this amazing children’s book weaves a message about selfishness and pride without ever appearing terribly heavy-handed. The fantasy elements of the story, a boy finding himself in a story being written as he appears in it, brings the reader far away from the real world. Yet, the very failings of the boy’s nature makes the lessons ever so meaningful.
I came across The Neverending Story while waiting for my copy of Momo, written by the same author. While I feel Momo is far more lyrical and wonderful, Neverending Story had great appeal for those who love fantasy. I didn’t know it was made into a movie until I had read it, and the book left me no desire to see the movie. I was completely satisfied with the long journey into a fantasy world.
It’s a particularly good book for boys, as the main character is a boy, with all the boy characteristics of adventure and misadventure. There is a wonderful male wizard as well in the story that one can relate to.
The book was originally written in German, so it is important to find a good translation. There are also many abridged versions out there, due to the popularity of the movie. My links below point to the version I found most satisfying.
All in all, a great read, good for boys, and I would say ages 11 and 12, as the story line gets fairly complex and would be hard to follow for younger children. Although it was written after 1975, it seems more of a classic than contemporary book.
Buy this at your local independent bookstore