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4.4 out of 5 stars38
4.4 out of 5 stars
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I first read this when I was about 6 and have loved it ever since. The story is about a little boy called Kay Harker who lives at Seekings, a rambling old house somewhere in the country. As he has no parents he has a guardian and also a governess Miss Sylvia Daisy who is a tartar. However, things are not what they seem in Seekings particularly when cats speak, little doors open in the wainscotting, characters from old pictures come to life and take you into them and maybe worst of all, you find out that there is Witchcraft going on under your nose in your own house!

The Pouncer Seven are after treasure lost many, many years ago and will stop at nothing to recover it including using dark magic. Kay and his friends have to stop The Pouncer Seven from finding the treasure and then return it to its rightful owner.

This is a truly delightful book written by the then Poet Laureate of the time, John Masefield. It is not scary in the actual sense of the word more of an adventure that many a little boy or girl would love to have been involved in,
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The Midnight Folk is a magical tale childhood, adventure and loyalty. It is filled with dark woods and shimmering seas, with smugglers, treasure and evil witches.
Kay Harker lives with his governess in Seekings, a large house which belonged to his dead parents. He discovers that all is not well in the house and its strange community of talking animals and magical helpers. But it is not until he learns that the governess herself is a leader in a sinister coven of witches and wizards that he begins to realise the danger to his friends and to himself. He is catapulted into a series of nighttime adventures searching for the treasure that his grandfather lost.
This book, which is also a perfectly observed picture of childhood - alone without loneliness - is the predecessor of the more widely known Box of Delights.
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on 7 December 2010
John Masefield (1878-1967) who is probably better known as a poet, wrote the Classic Children's books The Midnight Folk and Box of Delights.

I bought it purely because I got the dvd Box of Delights to watch over Christmas and one of the reviewers recommended reading the books beforehand.

I'm so glad that I did! They are beautifully written. As mentioned in another review, The Midnight Folk doesn't have chapters. I thought this would bother me, but it didn't and it does have paragraph breaks anyway. The beauty of this book for me was not the plot so much as the journey. It captures childhood and the magical world of invention that kids can escape into. John Masefield had quite a tragic childhood; his mother died giving birth to his sister when John was aged six, then his father had a mental breakdown and died soon after. It makes sense that he escaped into a world of his own, developed a love of reading and then created these magical books and many poems.

I enjoyed it so much I read the book Box of Delights, but that is another story ....
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on 15 September 2009
For anyone who's used to modern, dare I say it, formulaic writing for children with tightly paced plots, snappy dialogue and no whiff of being overwritten, "The Midnight Folk" will come as a shock. The story rambles along with no chapter breaks. The huge cast of characters includes humans, magical beings, characters from mythology, animals and toys that may be human or animal. Many of the characters go under several names and three characters share a single name! The past, present, day and night, waking and dreaming mingle with each other. Many characters break into song, seemingly, just for the sake of it.

And yet, this cornucopia still casts its spell. There are some truly beautiful passages of writing and some funny ones, too. My nine-year-old, who I read it to (I think he'd have given up on his own) seemed less bothered than I if we lost the plot or forgot if a certain character was a (human) smuggler or a toy horse. Like an illogical but vivid dream, "The Midnight Folk" is a story where you have to relinquish control and let yourself be carried away on its magic.
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on 15 January 2015
Having loved this story for sixty years, and introduced generations of children to it (I was a primary-school teacher) this, for me, remains the most truly magical ever. Masefield was both great poet and master story-teller and both these gifts, together with crystal-clear memories of his own solitary and imaginative childhood in a beautiful countryside, combine to create a book which can be read again and again. It is also a masterpiece of construction, in which the various strands and sub-plots of the tale are deftly handled and interwoven by a supreme literary craftsman. The characters, animal and human, are unforgettable. I particularly like Miss Susan Pricker (Or Piney Trigger, as she insists on being called), Mr. Rollicum Bitem Lightfoot the fox, and Rat the cellarman - and of course Nibbins, "who is the nicest cat there is".

The word "wholesome" is very much out of favour these days, but it is the mot juste for "The Midnight Folk" - after "magical".

(Yes, the sequel "The Box of Delights" is almost as good, but has always been ruined for me by its last paragraph
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on 4 July 2013
Lovely story just as enthralling as it was when I read it about 30 years ago, and when I read it as a child. Suitable for all ages. Brilliant.
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on 7 October 2014
This is a delightful book of which I was enthralled when I read it as a child, and was still engrossed when I read it as a rather more senior person just recently. John Masefield's writing captures the imagination of the reader and is neither childish nor too adult. I would recommend you buy this whatever age your are, and buy it as a present for your children.
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on 2 March 2016
I was very familiar with the BBC TV adaptation of the Box of Delights, but Kay's welcoming of the Mouse always puzzled me- why did he greet him like an old friend, when they'd only just met? I decided to read the precursor, The Midnight Folk, to find out. I was really surprised by the book- it's a really good read, even for a grown up, and quite long- there's a good amount of story here. Kay has adventure after adventure, and welcomes all his new friends as if he's known them all his life (there were mice in it, but I don't think it was the same one from the Box of Delights). There are sneaky cats, witches, foxes, otters, owls, buried treasure, or possibly sunken treasure, or maybe it's lost altogether? Pirates, rats, and of course, Abner Brown. Definitely recommended, and I wish I'd read it years ago.
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on 24 March 2014
Every child should read this author's books. Delightful stories which are well written - exciting and imaginative with good vocabulary and grammar!
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on 28 April 2015
This Kindle version is great - I've written another review for the Box of Delights - for both of these it is so nice to be able to read the full unabridged version rather than the paperback edited copy.
To some extent I can see why these have been edited - whether in the interests of political correctness or just what adults think children should be doing but this should never be done to the extent that the actual story is affected which was the case with this book.
Great read
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