Hurly Burly and the Knights
adapted from the Italian by Milton Rugoff
illustrated by Emanuele Luzzati
Platt & Munk, 1963
Had no idea people loved this book so much until I started Googling for info. Wow. Not hard to see why though. In a relatively short time with only a small amount of text, the book is epic. Seriously. You could make a miniseries out of this bugger. (Those of you of a certain age -ahem- might remember the illustrator as the animator who created some brilliant Oscar-nominated short films set to famous operas scores back in the day.)
Our story, like all good stories,
is of long ago and far away,
of Golden Knights so brave
and Green Knights so wicked,
of a beautiful princess named Bianca,
and a good magician called Hurly Burly.
Bad knights battle good knights. Good magic battles black. There are siren princesses created for evil. And a bird that helps save the day. An epic of medieval proportions. What I love most about this book is the language, every page is flowered with these great pronouncements...
He was a magician, too,
but of black magic.
Oh, that wicked Gano!
...or...But someone good has seen it all --
the good magician Hurly Burly.
Oh, that wonderful Hurly Burly!
Oh sad Bianca! Unhappy Bianca,
sobbing and sighing,
surrounded by guards, all hope abandoned!
... or poetic moments like...
Here is the dwelling
of the dragon Groan.
will be turned to stone!
Of course there is a dragon and a wild battle and exclamation points are thrown around as the words scream of excitement and chivalry and bad dudes in jail!!! You'd be hard pressed to find a story more lively of tone. Eight million thumbs up!
The Magic Flute