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The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia Series #1)

( 42 )

Overview

Welcome to the fantastic and wondrous world of Zamonia, populated by all manner extraordinary characters, and created by author and illustrator Walter Moers. Bluebear's adventures unfold episodically from his first life - which begins as the miniature baby Bluebear floats in a wayward chestnut in the outer vortex of a giant maelstrom - to his 13 1/2 life, a peaceful interlude following his confrontation with the infamous Spiderwitch. In the twelve lives between, Bluebear explores a lost continent. It's a land of ...
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13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear

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Overview

Welcome to the fantastic and wondrous world of Zamonia, populated by all manner extraordinary characters, and created by author and illustrator Walter Moers. Bluebear's adventures unfold episodically from his first life - which begins as the miniature baby Bluebear floats in a wayward chestnut in the outer vortex of a giant maelstrom - to his 13 1/2 life, a peaceful interlude following his confrontation with the infamous Spiderwitch. In the twelve lives between, Bluebear explores a lost continent. It's a land of imaginative lunacy and supreme adventure, wicked satire and epic fantasy, all mixed together, turned on its head, and lavishly illustrated.
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Editorial Reviews

Gregory Cowles
At 700 pages, the book is sometimes repetitive (another impossible predicament, another narrow escape!) but the writing, seamlessly translated by John Brownjohn, remains lively and inventive right through the final heroic battle between good and evil.
— The New York Times
Daily Telegraph
Part science fiction, part fairy tale, part myth, part epic, the book… constantly satirizes itself. Very amusing.
Rolling Stone
A yarn of drollery, deeper meaning, and sheer lunacy.
Publishers Weekly
Nine-lived cats have nothing on the "bluebear," who, according to German author and illustrator Moers, has a whopping 27 lives. In this inventive, zany, fun-for-all ages odyssey (a bestseller in Europe), an intrepid "seagoing bear" offers his "demibiography." A foundling floating in a nutshell on the Zamonian Sea, the azure-furred Bluebear is rescued by Minipirates, impish nautical geniuses, who raise him and then, after he gets too big, abandon him to live out 13 lifetimes of adventure populated by a dizzying array of eccentric characters. Among them, two argumentative waves known as the "Babbling Billows" teach Bluebear speech, sage dinosaur Mac (real name: Deus X. Machina) extends friendship and Professor Abdullah Nightingale at the Nocturnal Academy offers a particularly intense and wacky education. Even readers with short attention spans will find themselves captivated by the nonstop parade of madcap characters as treacherous predicaments resolve themselves with charming ease. Magnificent sugarstorms, tornadoes inhabited by old men and "dimensional hiatuses" propel the independent, indefatigable Bluebear to Atlantis, where he must demonstrate the relevance of his experiences in a psychological duel of sorts. Comparisons to Harry Potter aside, Moers's kaleidoscopic expedition is fanciful and endlessly entertaining. 136 b&w illus. Agent, Jane Kirby at Random House UK. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
German comic book artist, novelist, and screenwriter Moers is most famous in his native country for his satirical comic strip, "The Little Asshole," but he makes his U.S. debut with this novel, a cult favorite in Europe and Britain. Set in the fantastical world of Zamonia, the book is divided into 13 and a half chapters, each culminating in Captain Bluebear's improbable escape from something (or someone) horrible, including a carnivorous island, an eternal tornado, and a seductive ship. Moers's world is both refreshingly original and peppered with enough parody to make it seem eerily familiar. The author's favorite subjects for parody are sf and fantasy genre stereotypes; his most ingenious invention is the character Deus X. Machina, who cannot bear the idea of having to retire from rescuing people because of his failing eyesight. Moers's own illustrations helpfully and humorously illuminate the text, and Brownjohn's translation from the German is excellent. For fans of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy franchise, this is an essential read. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Jana Beck, Library Journal Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This novel opens with the title character's first memory: as a cub floating in the ocean with a nutshell for a life raft, he heads straight for a giant whirlpool threatening to suck him down. After he's rescued by a boatload of Lilliputian pirates, Bluebear enters into a life (or 13 lifetimes) filled with humor and adventure. Each "life" has a different challenge to overcome, pitting him against the likes of headless giants and storytelling contests. The book is one part Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth and two parts Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Each adventure mixes fantasy, science fiction, and fables in a satirical cocktail that readers can't help but gulp down. The quirky writing is definitely strong enough to carry itself, but Moers includes several black-and-white illustrations that enhance the whimsy. With so many little side trips in Bluebear's narrative, the story might frustrate those who prefer straight-line plots. But this is the kind of tale that readers have to just sit back and enjoy, wherever it takes them. The ending does tie the loose threads together. A wild, fun-filled ride.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Marvellously fantastical.” – Sunday Express

“Part science fiction, part fairy tale, part myth, part epic, the book is a satire on all these genres... Very amusing.” – Daily Telegraph

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585678440
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 8/29/2006
  • Series: Zamonia Series , #1
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 271,893
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter Moers is a writer, cartoonist, painter and sculptor who lives in Hamburg.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Grand Adventure!

    This is the most entertaining book I have ever read. It is intelligent, witty, and a grand adventure. Incredibly well written and well worth every penny. Moers' highly imaginitive writing style is a conglomeration of Shel Silverstein, JK Rowling, and Douglas Adams. I have read a lot of books in my day but this is the first one I recommend!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    I ADORE this book! It is almost like thirteen separate books in

    I ADORE this book! It is almost like thirteen separate books in one because each life is totally different. From Minipirates to a carnivorous island/plant, from talking waves to saving people's lives at the very last possible second as a profession, from a school where the students are only accepted if they are unlike every other life form on Earth to a city inside a tornado inhabited by 100+ year old men, from a nomadic desert tribe who pursue a semi-stable Fata Morgana to the artistry of creating dreams from within a giant cyclops's brain, from a megalopolis full of the wildest creatures, buildings, activities, and jobs to an element that is capable of thought, this book is absolutely insane and amazing and random and fantastic and my favorite book in the universe! I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a very entertaining, very whimsical, very awesome book. Now always remember that KNOWLEDGE IS NIGHT!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2012

    Highly recommended

    A funny fantastic journey through a crazy little imaginary world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Whimsy

    Moers creates a whimsical travelogue that is not so much Rowling as it is Silverstein and Adams. It's light reading filled with good humor, fanciful characters and fabulous places to explore. It's not epic fantasy, it's not action driven. It's about a blue bear discovering his world. It's adult in its satire and in some of its inventions, thus a younger reader may not have the vocabulary or insight to fully enjoy it, but adult fans of whimsy and fantasy will have a ball. Highly recommended.

    It had me at "mini-pirate".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2009

    I've Read It Seven Times

    I bought this book three years ago and have since read it seven times. Each time I read it it just keeps on getting better and better. The characters, the plot, the origionality, everything, is just incredible. Walter Moers is wonderfully talented and my favorite author, I own all of his novels, (this, Rumo, City of Dreaming Books, and A Wild Ride Through the Night) and intend to, in the next few days, purchase the latest zany Zamonian adventure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Highly recommend Walter Moers. The first Zamonia story that foll

    Highly recommend Walter Moers. The first Zamonia story that follows an intelligent Blue Bear around the imaginative world of Zamonia. 
    Insanely creative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    Excellent!!!

    One you'll read again and again!

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  • Posted July 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Adorable, whimsical and funny book. I can only describe it as h

    Adorable, whimsical and funny book. I can only describe it as half adventure-magic tale, half parody, something like Alice-in-Wonderland and Sindbad mixed with Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. The hero, a blue (!) bear tells the reader the tales of his fantastic adventures on the mythical continent of Zaminia. As an example, what would you say about giant carnivorous plant masquerading as an island full of gourmet foods to fatten up its unsuspecting castaway? Or about the life in the eye of the most terrible storm where is , of course, there is the most serene calm which makes even the time itself to stand still? It is written in the delightful whimsical language ( kudos to the translator!) and illustrated in the funniest way . B&N really should show the examples of text and pictures to possible buyers. Word of caution : the book is full of words like " gastropode" , "stratospheric", or "horticulture", so the vocabulary may be too much for the younger readers. I ended up writing the explanations for difficult words on the side of each page for my 10 yrs old daughter - and even rather enjoyed doing it. I grade the books as Buy and Keep (BK), Read Library book and Return ( RLR) and Once I Put it Down I Couldn't Pick it Up ( OIPD-ICPU). This one is a BK .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Recommended - a whimsical adventure story

    A blue bear experiences a series of fantastical and often dangerous adventures, and gets help from some unlikely sources. Maybe not as plot-driven as the author's other books and this creates a different reading experience. The Alchemist Master and City of Dreaming Books were very good stories too but seemed to emphasize plot more than Bluebear. Depends on what you feel like reading. But for a well written and whimsical adventure story, Bluebear is definitely recommended.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2008

    A Great Journey

    Walter Moers has to be a genius if he could create such a grand book as the 131/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. This book is a throw back to children's books we've all read with illustrations that guide the story along. But don't let this fool you, the plot,characters, and overall uniqueness of this book makes it an instant classic. Walter Moers takes the reader on a Journey as fantastic and wonderful as any adventure story that proceeded this book. He has created an entirely new world with new ideas that hook it's reader once they are in the midst of its grandeur. With this book, the reader will experience new life forms and a new way to think about the world and their position in it. Besides all these grandiose details I have stated, I believe there is no other book out there as funny, charming, and just a plain fun ride. Schools across America and the world should add this to their curriculum and I would venture to guess our literacy rates and our youth's interest in learning would sky rocket. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008

    My new favorite book.

    This is the most entertaining book I have ever read. It is intelligent, witty, and a grand adventure. Incredibly well written and well worth every penny. It's like Shel Silverstein had a creativity child with JK Rowling and Douglas Adams. I have read a lot of books in my day but this is the first one I recommend!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    Marvelous and Engaging

    This book is really quite fun to read. It moves along well, and has pictures interspersed through out. For anyone who hasn't quite outgrown the joy of seeing pictures of what you are reading. Very plot oriented, but worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2006

    Just plain Silliness

    Captian Bluebear is one of the silliest and most random books I have ever read. I liked it though. I don't know where the author came up with enough to fill a 700 page book with but he did a wonderful job. The whole book is complete makebelieve and that's what makes it so fun.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2006

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!!

    I loved this book! It was very funny, and I could never put it down! I would recommend this to everyone!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2003

    Litterally, a little bit of everything.

    This book is amazing. There isn't really much else describable about it. It is a book, with it's yellow cover and seven hundred or so pages that looks more than a little like a phone book, but despite it's daunting size, will keep you reading from cover to cover(if only there were enough hours in the day.) This is the memoir written by the aged Captain Bluebear about his first 13 and 1/2 lives, starting shortly after birth and ending half way after his 13th life. I have never spent so much time in sheer joy, grinning from ear to ear at every page. Pictures and excerpts from Nightengale's Zamonien encyclopedia really add to the atmosphere. This book is really funny, witty, but it also has heart, and deeper truths to it, a real rarity. There are pirates, aliens, man eating islands, travel to other demensions, life in a volcanoe, Atlantis, school (Professor Nightengale has five brains), Alpine mountain imps, dinosaurs, congladiators, giants...I could go on and on and on for seven hundred and some odd pages. Every life topic, including living in a crummy apartment is covered in this book in a unique way. Bluebear may be the most untrustworthy narrator who ever existed, but he tells his story so well that I do believe him... In short, please read this book, I promise, you won't regret it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews

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