James Thurber, Author and Cartoonist

James Thurber's birthday

Reading Comprehension for December 8

On December 8, 1894, a great American humorist began his life. James Thurber was born and raised in Ohio's capital city. He grew up to become a popular writer and cartoonist. Besides writing and drawing for The New Yorker magazine, he also published many books, including several children's stories.

Thurber's stories were often about the crazy antics of his family. He described his mother, Mary Thurber, as "one of the finest comic talents I think I've ever known." She once surprised her guests by telling them that her family kept her in the attic because of her love for the mail carrier. In his story titled, "The Night the Ghost Got In," Thurber reported that his mother, upon hearing a sound downstairs (maybe a burglar?), threw a shoe through the window of a neighbor's house to alert them to the problem. As the neighbor was phoning the police, Mary Thurber "suddenly made as if to throw another shoe, not because there was further need of it but, as she later explained, because the thrill of heaving a shoe through a window glass had enormously taken her fancy. I prevented her."

Thurber didn't leave his father out of his stories, either. Charles Thurber, along with other family members, were featured in James Thurber's book, My Life and Hard Times (1933). One such story began, "I suppose that the high-water mark of my youth in Columbus, Ohio, was the night the bed fell on my father."

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