It's 5pm on New Year's Eve in the Villa Nightmare, and as Shadow Sorcery Minister Beelzebub Preposteror's thumb-striking clock counts down each hour with an "Ouch!", Minister Preposteror draws closer to missing his midnight deadline for fulfilling his annual quota of evil deeds and being "foreclosed".
It's 5pm on New Year's Eve in the Villa Nightmare, and as Shadow Sorcery Minister Beelzebub Preposteror's thumb-striking clock counts down each hour with an "Ouch!", Minister Preposteror draws closer to missing his midnight deadline for fulfilling his annual quota of evil deeds and being "foreclosed". Up against a tight deadline and threats from His Hellish Excellency, the Minister of Pitch Darkness himself, Preposteror has all but given up when the arrival of an unexpected visitor promises hope: his aunt, the witch Tyrannia Vampirella (also threatened with "foreclosure") proposes that they work together to brew the Notion Potion, a powerful formula that will grant all their evil wishes. As the clock continues to tick, a reluctant team of cat and raven have just seven hours to thwart the plans of their sorcerer masters and save the world from destruction. The Night of Wishes, from The Neverending Story author Michael Ende, anticipates the world of Harry Potter: a world in which magic is not only very real, and wielded by both forces good and evil, but also bureaucratized with its practitioners fitting into a tightly regulated hierarchical system.
Michael Ende (1929-1995) was a German author of children's fiction and fantasy. His works have been translated into 40 languages and adapted into films, plays, and operas. He was one of the most successful German writers in the post-war period, selling over twenty million books. Ende is best known for the epic The Neverending Story, as well as Jim Button, Momo, and The Night of Wishes. Regina Kehn is an illustrator of children's books and is based in Hamburg, Germany. She has illustrated the works of Michael Ende, Daniil Kharms, Cornelia Funke, Otfried Preussler, and Franz Kafka, among others. Heike Schwarzbauer and Rick Takvorian are translators of German literature.
"Good confronts evil in a comic adventure spiced with rambunctious wordplay and deepened by allusions to the world's real afflictions. Clever and highly imaginative." --Kirkus Reviews "A potent dose of comic fantasy, bubbling over with clever wordplay and slapstick incidents, and spiked with verse." --Publishers Weekly
"Envy the parents who get to read it aloud at bedtime, facing the challenge of voicing larger-than-life characters...Ende revels in zany details and little asides. The tone of amused horror is well sustained in this playful translation...Amid the gags comes meaning, particularly when a cat arrives at a new understanding of his life, and when we witness the destruction of nature. It all ends in an operatic aria. And why not? Michael Ende also likes to keep his readers thinking." --Eileen Battersby, TLS
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