THE NIGHT OF WISHES by Michael Ende

THE NIGHT OF WISHES

or, The Satanarchaeolidealcohellish Notion Potion
Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Good confronts evil in a comic adventure spiced with rambunctious wordplay and deepened by allusions to the world's real afflictions. Beelzebub Preposteror, sorcerer, and his aunt Tyrannia Vampirella have received an ultimatum: complete their annual quota of devastation (pollution, extinction of species, rapacious business deals, etc.) or be hauled off to the nether regions by emissary Maledictus Maggot. Collaborating (with difficulty, since they double-cross each other at every turn), they concoct an arcane brew empowering imbibers with wishes that work by contraries. Meanwhile, their servants--a cat and a raven, spies from the animal kingdom--strive to foil them before the midnight deadline, a feat they eventually accomplish with the help of an additive that reverses the potion's effect. Like Douglas Adams's space adventures, the fun here is less in the events than in the witty details--in this case, including constructing compound words in the German fashion (see subtitle) and rhymed, punning incantations. Any translation would be a tour de force; this one is remarkably good. What must be new puns are coined felicitously, and while some of the verse bears marks of compromise between sound and sense, the result is often highly amusing. A little slow getting started but topped off with several ingenious, rapid-fire twists; clever and highly imaginative. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-374-19594-3
Page count: 244pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992