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Puck of Pook's Hill (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 23 Feb 1995


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (23 Feb. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140621474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140621471
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1.7 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,376,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay in December 1865. He returned to India from England shortly before his seventeenth birthday, to work as a journalist first on the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, then on the Pioneer at Allahabad. The poems and stories he wrote over the next seven years laid the foundation of his literary reputation, and soon after his return to London in 1889 he found himself world-famous. Throughout his life his works enjoyed great acclaim and popularity, but he came to seem increasingly controversial because of his political opinions, and it has been difficult to reach literary judgements unclouded by partisan feeling.

Product Description

About the Author

Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) is best remembered for children's tales such as The Jungle Book as well as his poetry and stories about British soldiers in India, which include "Gunga Din" and The Man Who Would Be King. Kipling was enormously popular at the turn of the 20th century but his reputation declined with the change in attitude toward British imperialism. In recent years Kipling's works have found new acclaim as a vibrant source of literary and cultural history. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Thannoise on 5 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
I still read this book at the age of fifty-four with as much delight as when I was given it aged about 9 or 10 by my dancing teacher. Puck is not the gossamer-winged soppy type of fairy (in fact, he reprimands Dan & Una roundly for using the word!) He is 'the oldest "Old Thing" left in Britain, and by means of Oak, Ash & Thorn he transports the children to meet various characters who, like Puck, have left their mark on the country.
It must be the most painless way ever to learn history and enjoy tales told as only a master can tell them.
Buy the book - in fact, buy two copies, one for the ten-year-old & one for yourself!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Believing Thomas on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like Kipling. He writes in quite a fresh style, keeps things moving and does not use words for he sake of it, despite writing around 100 years ago.
This book, intended I guess for children, is really a kind of historical novel about a place in the south of England, hung on the idea of an ancient 'fairy' that introduces the story windows.
The only thing that modern readers may well stumble over is a curious story about the influence of Jews in the reign of King John. It reflects the ideas of some people in Kipling's time that the Jews somehow controlled the power of the nations through gold. An idea that has lead to some terrible persecution. It is interesting to hear what he says but maybe not an idea you want to impart to your children.
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This was first published in 1906, and a modern child, 10+ years, could still enjoy it, if they are a good reader, and are into historical adventure told in an old-fashioned and very masculine style, with a touch of fantasy softening the edges.

Two Edwardian children, Dan and Una, live out in the country in a place called Pevensey, and receive lessons in the morning from a governess. In the afternoon, they can run loose in the countryside. They accidentally summon up the fairy Puck one midsummer eve, who is a very butch and masculine fairy, and he starts bringing over men who lived at different times in the local area, or who otherwise had a connection with Pevensey, to tell the children anecdotes from their own lives. This means the stories are told in first person, and Kipling does adjust the narrative voice of each one - I quite liked the young Roman centurion's take on the world!

I'm not sure why other reviewers are commenting on a feeling of peace - this book is full of war! Half the stories are told from the point of view of conquerors of Britain ie. a Norman knight and the Roman centurion, and I got the feeling that Kipling (a very famous writer on the experiences of people in the British Empire) was bringing over his own first-hand observations of conquering and colonising people who don't really want that to happen. The story about the old gods mentioned human sacrifices. The story of the medieval Jewish moneylender referenced regular torture, and that King John used to pull out the teeth of Jews to force them to lend money to him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris S on 4 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives a range of stories, all based round the children living in this fictional location (modelled strongly on his own children and home and grounds). It is probably better for reading to children than giving it to them to read themselves, as the language (and some of the concepts) may need some explanation from time to time, for the modern child - but the stories are captivating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patricia AUSTIN on 26 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I remember Friday afternoons and our teacher reading this to us as a class. It was magical and having read it again, many years later, it still is. The imagery carries one away and I recommend it to anyone with a romantic soul who enjoys Rudyard Kipling and a rather good story.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Secret Spi on 14 May 2010
Format: Paperback
"Puck of Pook's Hill" is something of a curiosity. The theme of the book is England and what made her, as related by characters who are conjured-up by Puck to give what would be called "eye-witness accounts" today. These characters include a knight, a Roman centurion and a Jewish physician from the time of the Magna Carta. There is a lovely feeling of place about the book - and in particular the timelessness of place, with many of the stories set around the Downs and the Weald of Kent, where Kipling lived.

I do have to say, unfortunately, that I doubt that this book would offer much of relevance to children today. With the changes in the way children are taught history, from the "living history" actors that pop out at each tourist attraction to tell their tales to CG films portraying famous historical incidents, learning about history has left the dusty books that the children in this story had to learn from far behind. And I expect that Una and Dan would now be seen as "historic" as many of the other characters that appear in the story. But, although I would hesitate giving this to my son to read, I did enjoy losing myself in "Old England" for a while.
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Two children meet Puck (the fairy from Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream) and, by magic, they meet characters from different historical periods, who recount their adventures. These are not famous people, but, for example, a Roman soldier fighting at Hadrian's Wall, or a knight battling against Vikings. I found the stories engaging, but to enjoy them you do need to know some British history (and I resorted to googling for information at times!) Consequently, although this was clearly written as a children's story, I suspect only adults would enjoy it these days. An added bonus are Kipling's own verses at the start of each chapter.
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