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The Wonder Clock or, Four and Twenty Marvelous Tales
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The Wonder Clock or, Four and Twenty Marvelous Tales

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  277 ratings  ·  35 reviews
It is rare indeed when a writer's original stories are regarded as masterpieces on a par with the great folkloristic fairy tales that have been handed down through the ages. But Howard Pyle's absorbing tales have for generations enjoyed such overwhelming popularity with boys and girls that they have earned this unique distinction. This collection includes some of his most ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 29th 2012 by Dover Publications (first published 1887)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  277 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book has been in my family for four generations, the 1912 edition having been given to my father by his grandmother in 1948.

The premise of the story is given in the introduction; the narrator happens upon a marvelous clock in Father Time's attic, which strikes the hour with songs and puppet dances. Twenty-four stories follow, one for each hour of the day. Each story begins with a verse that corresponds to the hour of the day: lighting the fire, preparing breakfast, sending the children to s
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I didn't like most of the stories. Some were okay though. My favorite was story #3. How One Turned His Trouble to Some Account.
"Trouble" was an actual human character in this story.

Many were written along the theme, that if you were humble, or poor and helped an old woman or man across a river or gave them your last two pence, you would get a wish granted, or some means of requesting help from them, because they were a magical being, and in the end you would marry a beautiful princess
Juniper Shore
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Howard Pyle was a watershed in publishing; he's one of a handful of illustrators who transformed the profession from a hack-work, low-paid job into a serious professional art. His pictures are gorgeous. His writing isn't bad, although The Wonder Clock isn't his best. (I think that prize goes to Otto of the Silver Hand.) Still, the short stories in this collection include some wonderful examples of late-Victorian children's literature, and they aren't as didactic as some of the other books of the ...more
Bish Denham
May 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
whenever I read children's stories that were written 100 years or more ago (these were first published in the 1880s) I have to remember how attitudes and the ideals that one shrived for were different. I can't judge from the modern perspective, that would be unfair. So what that all females were either fair and lovely maidens who need rescuing or ugly evil hags. Oh there were a few who fair and lovely AND evil... So what if all the males were usually the disenfranchised youngest of three sons, o ...more
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I haven't read this outloud to the kids yet. I bought it and read it and really liked it. I do plan on using it but I think we'll do that when they're a bit older. Right now we're focusing on the more common fairy tales like Cinderella and Rapunzel and such.

I'm thinking this is best for 10 and up. It does have a bit of unpleasantness like using puppies for a potion or something like that. But all the original fairy tales have stuff like that. Eating of small children, chopping off
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
it was amazing reading those stories 24 for 24 hours also I enjoyed the illustrations and the poems
it was different and simple, i cant believe that book is a classic even if it was children's book
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of 24 different fairy tales, each illustrated by Howard Pyle, each introduced with an illustrated poem by his wife, Katherine Pyle. Everything about this book is charming to me (a person who has struggled through Anderson's and Lang's fairy tales in the last year). The actual book, a library book chosen randomly off the shelf at my local library, seems to contain many details which might appeal to a child who has conquered post-modern disdain for anything not presented in moving pi ...more
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1875-to-1890-ad
In the days before I read Master Jacob (chapter 13) I had heard so many stories of this exact thing, that when the chapter opened with scheming people thinking to get power, wealth and whatever else by playing tricks on an honest man, and their mechanism was to agree to talk as though things that were quite true and obvious were completely different and utterly false, I couldn't believe my ears! To think that all my life, everyone who heard a fairy tale like this knew that this only happens in f ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the singular style of this late 18th-Century work, and the author's personal twist in the creation of these 24 short-story folk tales. There was definitely some repetitiveness in the themes, but it fit the bill of taking me back in time and each story was enjoyable enough. The princess-turned-queen that could not admit the truth to wise woman Hildegard even at the price of her own children being abducted was one of the more striking ones.
Patrick Murtha
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Completely charming, both the stories and the illustrations. In some ways this is an early example of a "mash-up," because Pyle borrows and re-combines story elements from many sources. Bright young readers and adults should enjoy the book equally. The stories are good for reading aloud, too; the droll repetitive patterns (many groups of three!) are very effective orally.
Alyssa Bohon
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved this book immensely - from the library, need to own! My favorite thing was the brief poem preceding each chapter, describing the hour of the day. Many of the stories seemed to have similar plots or themes, but Pyle's witty way of saying things kept the tales fresh.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read aloud with the 9 year old
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
Read-Aloud. Wonderful fairy tales.
What I liked:
-I always feel a little guilty reading Grimm's Fairy Tales to my 1 year old - they are disturbing and frequently gruesome. This book felt like it settled nicely between Grimm's and Disney. There was some violence and strangeness characteristic of old fairy tales, but on the whole it was peaceful without the power-washed feeling of Disney stories.
-The book is FULL of fantastic expressions - idiomatic and otherwise. It was fun to read ones that are similar to expressions that we say
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Another book picked up at the Delaware Art Museum, inspired by the illustrator's artwork. There is a story for each hour of the day; each is a fairy/folk style tale with line illustrations. The stories often seem to be variations on standard tales with echoes of Cinderella, Snow White, the giant with the goose that lays golden eggs, etc. Impossible tasks are achieved often with magical help; there are princesses to be rescued; princesses offered as rewards; wicked stepmothers and stepsisters; ta ...more
Rebecca Ann
I really didn't care for this collection. Most of the tales were similar in major ways, none of them had satisfying messages or conclusions, and they seemed oddly long and complex. The few exceptions for me were How Boots Befooled the King, The Swan Maiden, the Step Mother, and the Princess with the Golden Hair and the Great black Raven. Even with these, I think I could find better versions. I did like the way the collection was set up as a wonder-clock with a story for each hour, and the illust ...more
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
I read this aloud to the boys at night. They liked a lot of the stories, though I had to omit some parts and grin and bear through others, with its insistent sexism. This went beyond women playing no roles aside from witches or princesses--objects to be used by the male protagonist either way; often the stories downright called for women to be beaten into submission. The three stars I give this book represent that there was more to it than the sexism, of course. Classic fairy tale tropes that ca ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to this book I fell in love with the idea of traveling to the ends of the earth - where, invariably the person with magical powers lives. No wonder kids are fascinated by fairy tales. Imagine actually reaching the end of something as infinitely vast as the world!!!
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: boys-books
A generally enjoyable read. Pyle keeps the stories short and each has a familiarity about it that our boys seemed to appreciate. Regular themes included the last being first, the materially poor being rich in soul, and how acts of kindness and charity regularly come back when unsought.
Jacquelyn Arbegast
I liked this book! It had many old folktales and fairy tale stories that I had never heard of before. My favorite was the story of the Swan Maiden! That is the story I used when I presented as a storyteller.
The illustrations are breathtakingly intricate. I became a fan of Howard Pyle's works after reading this book. :D
Dec 28, 2015 marked it as to-read
Howard Pyle is an American 19th century author and artist, Victorian Era.
Anna Maria
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a charming little book of original fairy tales. I loved every single one of them.
Elizabeth S
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An interesting collection of stories with vibrant characters. One of my great-grandmother's favorite books. A classic.
Apr 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth-ya
I love fairy tales! This is a whole book of "new" ones. Great artwok too!
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book as a child!
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite childhood/young adult books. Howard Pyle's illustrations are timeless as well as the stories. Recommended for children who desire magical childhoods.
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it
A wonderful re-read from childhood. Pyle's use of language is sharp and amusing. The kindle edition had no pictures alas, which I remember fondly.
Sara Laughs
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My favorite childhood book. It was wonderful to re-read the stories
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of victorian illustration, fairy tale buffs
Recommended to Antoine by: Nannie
This is a charming collection of fairy tales. The language is deliberately archaic, which is sort of annoying, but the illustrations are amazingly cool.
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Howard Pyle was an American illustrator and author, primarily of books for young people.

During 1894 he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University), and after 1900 he founded his own school of art and illustration named the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. The term Brandywine School was later applied to the illustration artists a