Just His Name Makes Me Laugh: Nurk | Review

Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew - Ursula Vernon, Bill Knowlton, Full Cast Audio

A simple but very funny MG Fantasy.



Nurk is a quiet homebody of a shrew. But when a mysterious plea for help arrives in the mail, he invokes the spirit of his fearless warrior-shrew grandmother, Surka, and sets off to find the sender. It seems the prince of the dragonflies has been kidnapped, and Nurk is his last hope for rescue. Such a mission would be daunting for even the biggest, baddest, and bravest of shrews, and Nurk is neither big nor bad, and only a little brave. But he does his very best--and hopes his grandmother would be proud.


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Source: I purchased this book myself Audible.



Nurk by Ursula Vernon, read & published by Full Cast Audio (2009) / Length: 3 hrs 6 min


SERIES INFO: This is standalone



Whenever I just need to listen to something a bit silly & sweet, I think of this one. 



Nurk: An orphaned shrew who mostly lives a sensible & comfortable life taking care of himself and conversing with his friend the salamander. He nevertheless admires his adventurous grandmother and thinks that he to might to travel someday.


This book sort of reminds me of The Hobbit (since a clean socks loving shrew goes on an adventure and meets up with a giant vicious creature); but, unlike Bilbo, Nurk goes on his travels alone. He does however meet with various interesting characters, including some dragonfly royalty.


Plus we get tiny glimpses of Surka through her journal entries. These are sometimes snort-your-drink hilarious, but I'm not sure I would want any child to consider her a role model.



This is a world that immediately feels familiar. A comfortable home, animals you've likely heard of, and a stream/river to travel. Things get stranger as they go along however. There are things such as troll mentioned or fish growing on trees encountered. Although there is magic in the world, Nurk's problems are always resolved with thought & help from others.



  • Nurk takes a towel with him on his adventure (along with his clean socks)
  • When he was younger, he thought the fact that "travel broadens the mind" meant you had to buy bigger hats
  • Nurk's full name: Nurkus Aurelius Alonzo Electron Maximilian Shrew




OTHER CAUTIONSCaution: We are told early on that Nurk's parents were eaten by an Owl in the past / a picture with Surka holding a severed head is mentioned / Surka may have run away from home to beginning adventuring (it isn't made clear how old she was)



This is a full cast production, with different individuals reading different characters. The main narrator is quite nice. I wasn't very fond of the voice for Surka.



Nurk by Ursula Vernon, read & published by Full Cast Audio (2009) / Length: 3 hrs 6 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • Can you recommend any other MG books with sensible main characters?
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