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4.7 out of 5 stars82
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 December 2003
You may, like me, have first come accross the Box of Delights when it was dramatised by the BBC in the early 1980s, and shown at Christmas virtually every year that decade! It was through a fit of nostalgia about this that I sought out the book, and I have certainly not been disappointed.
Very simply the main character of the story is entrusted a magical box, which he endeavours to hide from a "gang of crooks" who also have an interest in the dark arts and the powers of the box. Masefield charts the adventures of 12(ish) year old Kay Harker, and those "blessed Joneses" (Kay's words, not mine!) over the four days leading up to Christmas in 1935, setting a good vs evil story against the background of going swift and going small, adventures in prehistory, pagan mythology, cars that turn into aeroplanes, scrobbling, incompetant policemen, snowy landscapes and well stocked larders!
Christmassy, and yet slightly dark, and utterly exciting, I would suggest this story has certainly not aged and I will definately be reading it to my children every Christmas until they too can quote all the words and make a possit as well as I can!
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on 29 November 2005
The (largely faithful) TV adaptation of this is probably better known than the book, but the latter is more rewarding. The lines between reality and magic are blurred throughout the story, and that's the way John Masefield likes it - he was Poet Laureate, after all, so you expect to be dazzled. It's most definitely a story to be read at Christmas, as the plot takes place the week before the big day.
In places the book shows its age - it was written in the 1920s - and isn't politically correct by today's standards. However, it's very funny, especially Abner Brown's evil monologues, the completely loopy Arnold of Todi and little Maria's constant attempts to shock people. The ending has been described as cliched, but may have been less so at the time it was written.
It's certainly worth reading "The Midnight Folk" (the Box of Delights is actually a sequel) as this helps to explain the origin of the characters such as Abner, the Rat and Caroline Louisa. The books complement each other very well, with one set in summer and the other at Christmas, but with largely the same characters and setting.
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on 4 December 2008
I have just acquired this book, having grown up with the abridged version. I had never realised how much I was missing! It is wonderful to finally have the complete text, and just in time for Christmas too. Quentin Blake's illustrations are of course very different from Faith Jacques' in my old copy, and less to my taste, but if they bring new readers to this wonderful book, then that is all to the good. Don't forget The Midnight Folk, too, it is just as good.
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on 14 December 2013
I heard this book sererialised on the BBC in 1943. It was accompanied by The music of Dr. Hely Hutchinson's Carol Fantasia. I was 12 years old. I had never read the book until now. It is a lovely story, plenty of adventure, magic and the overthrow of evil and triumph of the good. I'm not sure if modern children would appreciate it.
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on 24 October 2014
Don't want to spoil for anyone so won't go into plot detail but very atmospheric and you look forward to getting some time to get back to it and finish the story. Some passages are very poetic and found out later that the author also did in fact write poems. His use of words and phrasing at times is beautiful and joyous to read.
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on 2 January 2014
The appeal of John Masefield's magical tale is timeless. Written as a sequel to the earlier 'The Midnight Folk' in 1935, the story opens with young Kay Harker on his way home for the Christmas holidays when he meets a couple of strange clergymen in the train and an old punch and judy man. Nothing is quite what it seems and the air is full of magic in this fast moving tale of good v evil.
With the aid of the box of delights Kay can go small and swift in order to defeat the gang of wolves.
Masefield's poetic response to landscape and situation will appeal to adult readers while the magical box will delight children, particularly, when the story is read aloud.
A book to return to every Christmastime.
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on 5 January 2012
This is one of the books we had to do for English when I was at school a long, long time ago :-( I ordered another book for my daughter that was a favourite from my childhood and, as I no longer had a copy of this book, I decided to treat myself to a new copy at the same time. I am going to read it very soon and hope that I can introduce my 5 year old daughter to it as soon as I have finished it. We are doing Chronicles of Narnia at the moment so hopefully she will enjoy this book also.
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on 5 October 2012
When I ordered this book I was not expecting such a fine copy of one of my most favorite Christmas stories, for the cost of the book it is excellent and I am proud to have it on show among my other books that cost quite a lot more. It is well bound in a lovely designed cover which represents the story well. I have to congratulate the seller and publisher on such a great book.The Box of Delights (Egmont Heritage)
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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2014
The Box Of Delights was one of my son's favourites as a child, and he loved the TV series too. I gave him this book as a Christmas read as three generations of the family joined for Christmas and though the tale is dated, steeped in the detail of the period in which it was written (1930s), it still resonates with childhood magic, much in the way that the Narnia books do. A lovely book for all ages, not just children.
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on 11 January 2014
I have a CD of the BBC production of 'The Box of Delights' which we have listened to several times, always at Christmas. It is a magical, fascinating story! This year I decided to read it on KIndle instead. The audio is faithful to the book in the main and both are superior, in my opinion, to the DVD of the TV version.......the scenery is, as they say, much better in the sound only or written version!
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