First of all, let's make something clear for all you cotton headed ninny muggins out there. This is a child-friendly edition that has been abridged and updated with contemporary language for young readers. The original "At The Back Of The North Wind" was written for kids and adults...IN THE 19th CENTURY!! That's the 1800's...for all you cotton headed ninny muggins. The original is very laborious, abstruse, and antiquated in much of it's language, much like this sentence. Now, a brilliant mind like mine EATS THAT STUFF FOR BREAKFAST, but cotton headed ninny muggins may balk at such parlance. But this book is amazingly adapted for young minds. I am currenlty 2/3 through this book with my 6-year-old, and we LOVE it! Bedtime reading is a celebration with this book. No seriously, a party. We decorate every single night with streamers, balloons, break out the punch, chips, and cake, and dance to "I got a feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas before reading. But seriously, we love it.
The editors chose to change up the language in just the right ways without detracting from the core. Matter of fact, I was suprised at how close they skated to the edge in parts to preserve MacDonald's language, and yet still masterfully rendered it completely understandable to my 6-yr-old. Wow. They even kept in the dialogue between Diamond and his mom at the beach that some might feel drags on a bit, but I realize it to be the real pith of the story. Even at that part, my daughter was completely absorbed with the story, and we had an excellent discussion and prayer afterwards that made me so thankful for this version.
Oh, and I would be remiss...REMISS I TELL YOU!...if I forgot to mention the illustrations. These brand of books have one illustration per page...PER PAGE!...so any young mind that isn't a cotton headed ninny muggin will love it all the more. Now, to be fair, some of the illustrations were quite comedic in their execution, unintentionally I'm sure, but we had a good time laughing and rolling our eyes over the blunders of an illustrator who may have been working at a feverish speed to finish nearly 100 sketches for a little book that probably didn't sell well in the first place. God bless "Ken Save" wherever he is. We love him for it, and drink to his good health in our pre-reading party-rocks.
Like I told my brother Joel (Hi Joel..how's it going? Good! How's the fam? Good! How's the ellen pipes or whatever that instrument you play is called? Good!), if you're wanting to initiate your child in the world of George MacDonald, then this is the way to go. An excellent treatment of a book that I was beginning to feel was unassailable for young minds in the 21st century. Not anymore. And what's better, the message was not compromised by this 'children's' version of the victorian novel. Which means...all you cotton headed ninny muggins will love it!!