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The Light Princess (Sunburst Book) Paperback – 1 Aug 1984

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Paperback, 1 Aug 1984
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux; Reissue edition (1 Aug 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374444587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374444587
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 1 x 18.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 574,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

George MacDonald (1824–1905) was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L'Engle. It was C.S. Lewis who wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later," said Lewis, "I knew that I had crossed a great frontier." G. K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that had "made a difference to my whole existence." Elizabeth Yates wrote of Sir Gibbie, "It moved me the way books did when, as a child, the great gates of literature began to open and first encounters with noble thoughts and utterances were unspeakably thrilling." Even Mark Twain, who initially disliked MacDonald, became friends with him, and there is some evidence that Twain was influenced by MacDonald. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd never heard of this fairy tale. After reading it I had to wonder why?

George MacDonald must be the most unread and influential author in the realm of fantasy and fairy tales.

The book appeals to both adults and children alike. I'd call it an ideal bedtime story. It's a classic fairy tale story, much like sleeping beauty, with a witch, a curse and love.

Interwoven is a beautiful, fun and sophisticated play on words. The simplest being that 'light' in this story is about weight not lumenance. And the princess who must find her gravity, must stop floating away but also discover a range of emotions.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
George MacDonald is not much heard of these days, but his influence on the likes of Tolkein and C S Lewis is of great importance. This is a lovely tale, with wonderful illustrations from some great artists. Well worth a read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this story when I heard on the radio it had been made into a musical. I was surprised to discover that the book for the Musical came from a fairy tale. I had never heard of George MacDonald but I am absolutely love the wildness of his imagination and the deep connection with nature in the story. I have also bought 'The Golden Key' and continue to love his work. If you want a fairy tale 'outside the box' then reach for George MacDonald and enjoy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By larousset1893 on 25 July 2012
Format: Paperback
Although a great fan of George MacDonald I couldn't get into the book due to the odd illustrations, being accustomed to pre-raphaelite Hughes hues. I could not be enchanted by the gruffalo-oddity princess as drawn by Sendak, nor understand why her hand was sought by the prince willing to risk his life for her - for what Sendaks princess lacks in charm MacDonald does not recompense for with personality - hence the title, the Light Princess. Conclusion: the illustrations do not match the story and rather detract from it, rendering the characters even less genuine in their unbearable lightness of being.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
My most beloved MacDonald book! 17 Dec 2002
By Jill Minor - Published on
Format: Paperback
When I received this as a gift, I had already read and thoroughly delighted in "At the Back of the North Wind," "The Princess and the Goblin," "The Princess and Curdie," and "The Golden Key." When you read MacDonald, if your heart is right, you feel sheltered--the world he creates for you is as trustworthy and pure as C. S. Lewis's Narnia or Rivendell of Tolkien's Middle Earth. At the same time, you feel challenged to transform your own world and make it more like MacDonald's.
I was expecting another dose of the same awe-inspiring goodness without false piety or preachiness that is MacDonald's literary legacy. In "The Light Princess," however, there was an unexpected ingredient--a sharp wit that pervades the whole book and made me laugh out loud more than once. In a modern world where wit and vulgarity are viewed as conjoined twins, how satisfying a book this is! MacDonald infused delicious humor into his characters without losing the innocence. I fell in love with this book by page three, and it has surpassed "The Princess and the Goblin" as my favorite work of George MacDonald.
The fact that my favorite illustrator of all time, Maurice Sendak, added his talents to this book is icing on the cake. Sendak always grabs the heart and soul of the written work and renders it into drawings too evocative to be believed. The drawing of the prince with only his head above the water took my breath away, and in one fabulous illustration, the hilarious expression on the face of the gravity-deprived infant princess as she floats away reflects the hilarity of the story itself.
If some of MacDonald's other stories have turned you off because they are too long, too "deep" or whatever, don't miss this treasure as a result. It is MacDonald-Light, and by that I mean not only easy to read, but typically illumined with beauty and truth. Plus, it's a love story that pokes fun of its own sentimentality. Anyone not brain-dead and heart-numb ought to adore it.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars are to few 5 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read! My friends tire of me recomending it to them -- but those who take my advise fall equally in love with its charm. The princess reminds me of Pearl in _The Scarlet Letter_, she cannot be truly human until she cries. What an idea! We cannot truly expereance real joy in life until we have felt the sting of pain. MacDonald never wrote fluff, his words have meaning even when born on the wings of fairies. Be encouraged and delighted by this beautiful fairy story. They say it's just for children, but the theme of love and the importance of gravity of character are as precious to the adult reader as the pool of water to the princess.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Delightfully Whimsical Fairy Tale 28 Mar 2001
By Richard R. Horton - Published on
Format: Paperback
George MacDonald was a Scottish clergyman of the mid-to-late 19th century, now known best for a variety of children`s fantasies, such as The Princess and the Goblin (recently made into a moderately successful animated feature), The Princess and Curdie, and the remarkable At the Back of the North Wind, as well as such adult novels as Lilith. Those are novels, but he also wrote some shorter pieces, perhaps aimed at a slightly younger audience (though very enjoyable for all ages). The Light Princess is one of these. (Another is The Golden Key: both books are available in very attractive Sunburst paperback editions, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak).
It is the tale of a princess who is cursed by a mean, jealous, witch so that she has no gravity. The book is full of puns, so MacDonald makes much both of her weightlessness, and the lack of gravity in her character. Naturally her parents are upset and try to have her cured, but to no avail (although the efforts of a couple of Chinese philosophers to provide a cure are rendered amusingly). However the Princess is quite happy with her "light" state (of course it is in her nature to be always happy). In the way of things, a Prince appears, and falls in love with the Princess. Then the witch realizes that her curse has failed to make the Princess unhappy, so she takes further steps, which are thwarted by the selfless behavior of the Prince, and which result in the Princess recovering her gravity: not an unmixed blessing, but one which her new maturity allows her to realize is best in the long run.
This is a delightful story, told with just the right mixture of whimsy and mildly serious moral comment. The characters are lightly and accurately drawn (the Princess` parents and the Chinese philosophers in particular, are delightful), and the story is predictable but still quite imaginative, with a number of nice touches to do with the Princess` weightlessness. Maurice Sendak`s illustrations are wonderful as usual.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Favorite fairy tale of all time 30 May 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
George MacDonald's story of the princess who lost her gravity (through an evil curse, of course), is the most pithy, humorous, lovely fairy tale on earth. Besides being weightless, she has no *inner* gravity--she has never cried. So her joy isn't real joy and her laughter is empty. The self-sacrificing love of the prince opens her eyes...and we see what wholeness means. Maurice Sendak's whimsically wonderful illustrations only serve to heighten the book's qualities...sheer delight is the result. A must for lovers of Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne, J. M. Barrie, Pamela Travers, C. S. Lewis, Charles Kingsley or anyone with even a passing interest in children's literature.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
MacDonald Magic 30 Dec 2000
By Joy Lorraine - Published on
Format: School & Library Binding
As a connoiseur of fairy tales, I consume en masse, but this George MacDonald classic stands out in my collection. Witty and sweet, this book was as appealing to me as an adult as it would be to any juvenile consumers with a glimmer of pixie dust in their eyes. Any child who loves C.S. Lewis's classic Chronicles of Narnia will delight in the author who fascinated and influenced Lewis in his own writing. MacDonald never writes to condescend, and thus he entertains all who read. The humor and twists in the story excite and enrapture, while the force of honest spirituality give it a lasting impetus and impact. The Light Princess is truly a nugget from the Golden age of children's literature.
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