Big Bubbles (no troubles)

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Cataloging Incrediblania

“Incrediblania was a kingdom, though it didn’t sound like one. In fact most people who heard its name for the first time thought it was either an illness or the name of a new kind of dance. But it was a kingdom. A rather small kingdom, certainly, but what it lacked in size, Incrediblania more than made up in completeness.”
- The Home-made Dragon And Other Incredible Stories

BB’s Junior Research Assistant is in dire need of further bedtime reading to accompany her loud attempts to destroy her bedroom. (Given that the JRA currently isn’t the sort to sit quietly and listen, BB figures we may as well at least read something that we enjoy.) Hence, we’ve just ordered one copy of every Norman Hunter Incrediblania book that we could find on ABEbooks.

We’re looking forward to telling the JRA of the king who eventually abolished all the days of the week (because he hated washing day), the Royal Disco that was built on a slant and the kingdom that kept halving itself to reward dragon slayers. Hunter’s Incrediblania tales are now, incredibly, all out of print (there is a Professor Branestawm title that’s been reissued, but those stories are generally judged inferior to the wacky kingdom of Incrediblania, and certainly so by BB). Strangely, we couldn’t track down a complete bibliography so here’s a brief list of the ones we’ve found so far in case anyone can add to it.

  1. The Dribblesome Teapots (1969): “Modern fairy tales” about a variety of kingdoms with silly names, such as “Sypso-Sweetleigh” and “Inkrediblania” (sic). These stories appear to have been rehashed from an earlier collection first published thirty-one years previously when Hunter, born in 1899, would have been 39.
  2. The Home-Made Dragon (1971): The first volume dedicated purely to Incrediblania, presumably inspired by the new success of the previous tales. Classic Fritz Wegner illustrations.
  3. The Frantic Phantom (1973)
  4. Dust-up at the Royal Disco (1975)
  5. Count Bakwerdz on the Carpet (1979): Illustrated by Babette Cole, who went on to write her own childrens books; Princess Smartypants has a strong Incrediblanian influence and a pleasingly modern princess.
  6. Sneeze And Be Slain: only available in hardcover, not sure if this is just a single tale from one of the other books to accompany a Jackanory reading. (Haven’t ordered it.)
  7. Wizards Are A Nuisance: Another Jackanory TV tie-in.

More info sought and gratefully received. If you’re also looking for these books, most of them seem to be ex-library copies in poor condition but should be readable.

Other bubbles

  • If you’re wondering what these tales are like, there’s a short extract here (scroll down to Waiting for Good Luck or search the page for “Incrediblania”); don’t even ask what the rest of that site is about.
  • Brief biography of Norman Hunter.