So this was one of the featured cakes on Cake Wrecks this past Sunday:
Bonus trivia: Did you know The Neverending Story was originally written in German? It wasn’t translated into English until 1983, and the movie was then released in ’84. As a kid I didn’t realize there even was a book – I discovered and read it sometime in my twenties. (The movie follows the original story almost exactly – a nice surprise!) Sweet Reading Sweets
This is one of the very first books I remember *wanting* to read after we moved to Germany. Some of that was because it took me a while to learn German, and that meant that school and homework and reading were HARD, but most of it was because my friends were taking about it, and I thought it sounded interesting. So I borrowed the cassettes from one of my friends, and fell in love. In short order, I had my own copy of the book and the cassettes, and never looked back. This book is incredibly famous in Germany, so it was very much a rite of passage for me to become obsessed with it.
When I was in Germany again during college, I had to buy a new copy because I had literally loved my paperback edition to pieces (I still have it though, because I couldn’t bear to throw it away); I’ve updated my cassettes to CDs as well. The German edition is printed in two different color inks, and each chapter starts with an elaborate illustration by Roswitha Quadflieg. The English editions I’ve seen don’t seem to have kept either of those visual elements, which is a shame, because they add so much to the story. (I won’t even go into how awful I think the English translation is; that can be saved for another post.)
The book is so eternally popular, that a related series called Die Legenden von Phantásien (The Legends of Fantastica) has been published. Michael Ende died in 1995, but his heirs made the rights to Phantásien freely available. So far six titles by six different authors have been published; I own two of them. These are inspired by all the instances of “… aber das ist eine andere Geschichte und soll ein andermal erzählt werden” (“…but that’s another story and shall be told another time”) that occur throughout the original book–all those tantalizing hints of other fabulous stories dropped like breadcrumbs can finally be explored! As far as I know, they have not been translated into English.
Michael Ende is one of my all-time favorite authors, and it always saddens me that his work isn’t better known outside of Europe. He wrote absolutely amazing books for children and others, equally fabulous, for adults, and was extremely prolific. I have an entire shelf full of his books, but there are still a lot I’m missing.