The Great Quillow
by James Thurber, published 1944
“I am Quillow, the teller of tales,” said the toymaker, but unlike the others he did not bow to the giant.”Bow!” roared Hunder the Giant. “Wow!” shouted Quillow.
I have to admit it took me a minute to get the joke (in the quote above.) This is a funny children’s book, but you must be attentive! The humor sneaks up on you. That’s James Thurber. I loved coming across this little children’s book (it’s only 56 pages!) It is a perfect fairy tale. Perfect in every way. With a superb point: the power of the mind. Also, never underestimate the smallest among us if they understand the power of the mind.
I had just read another James Thurber before this one, and didn’t like it at all. So I was amazed to see the difference between the two books, and how dark and scary one was, and how light and joyful this one is. A truly versatile writer, Thurber has just the right touch in this little fairytale.
I think it would be a great read-aloud children’s book, and even more fun for younger children who have learned to read on their own. It’s perfect for 5 to 8-year-olds. I categorize it for boys because of the giants, but it’s totally a universal fairytale for everyone. I also categorized it as Waldorf Aligned because it’s a great example of a modern fairy tale, without the grimness of Grimms. I personally can’t wait to bring it in to school and see how the second graders take to it.
Buy this at your local independent bookstore