The Box of Delights (Hardcover)

By John Masefield, Judith Masefield (Illustrator)
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Strange things begin to happen the minute young Kay Harker boards the train to go home for Christmas and finds himself under observation by two very shifty-looking characters. Arriving at his destination, the boy is immediately accosted by a bright-eyed old man with a mysterious message: The wolves are running. Soon danger is everywhere, as a gang of criminals headed by the notorious wizard Abner Brown and his witch wife Sylvia Daisy Pouncer gets to work. What does Abner Brown want? The magic box that the old man has entrusted to Kay, which allows him to travel freely not only in space but in time, too. The gang will stop at nothing to carry out their plan, even kidnapping Kay's friend, the tough little Maria Jones, and threatening to cancel Christmas celebrations altogether. But with the help of his allies, including an intrepid mouse, a squadron of Roman soldiers, the legendary Herne the Hunter, and the inventor of the Box of Delights himself, Kay just may be able rescue his friend, foil Abner Brown's plot, and save Christmas, too.
At once a thriller, a romp, and a spellbinding fantasy, "The Box of Delights" is a great English children's book and a perfect Christmas treat.

About the Author

John Masefield (1878-1967) is in the highest class as a writer of clear, muscular English, whether he is writing about the countryside he loved so well, or, as in this book, the sea, with which he maintained that love-hate relationship which is the hallmark of the genuine seaman, ' writes Professor Lloyd. Brought up in Herefordshire and soon orphaned, Masefield was trained on the Conway at Liverpool, served his apprenticeship in windjammers, sailed around the Horn and was beached in New York before he was eighteen. His experiences in these impressionable years stayed with him for the rest of his life. Back in England at the turn of the century, Masefield worked for the Manchester "Guardian" and published two books of verse (one which contained 'Sea Fever') and a collection of short stories before "Sea Life" in "Nelson's Time" was published in 1905. He became famous in 1911 with the publication of "Everlasting Mercy", when the use of the word 'bloody' created a sensation. Reynard the Fox, published in 1919, consolidated his position. In 1930 he was appointed Poet Laureate and other honours followed, notably the Order of Merit in 1935.

Praise For…


“The book that always had the magic of a snowy English Christmas…. It’s still a lovely book, magical and funny, to be read by anybody of any age.” —The Horn Book

"This classic of English children's literature, sadly overlooked by most on this side of the Atlantic, has just been reissued in a beautiful edition by the New York Review Children's Collection...Although "The Box of Delights" was first published in 1935, Masefield's intoxicating prose has lost none of its this wonderful tale of bravery and intrigue that deserves to become another staple of the holidays." --The San Francisco Chronicle


"First published in 1935, The Box of Delights by John Masefield is newly available. In the adventure-laden Christmas story, Kay Harker (also the protagonist of Masefield's The Midnight Folk) returns from boarding school for the holidays and becomes involved in a struggle with a wizard and witch who wish to possess the eponymous box." --Publishers Weekly


"This uniquely imaginative tale would be a delight for fans of old-fashioned, English Literature and could be compared to the likes of A Christmas Carol and the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe." --CLEAR Reviews



“[Masefield’s] most popular children’s book…Original and remarkable.” –The New York Review of Books


“Masefield's novel, a plum pudding of strange adventures, English legend, and spiritual feeling, should be more widely appreciated” –The Washington Post


The Box of Delights' is based on a 1935 story by famous English poet John Masefield, and it's crammed full of fantasy and adventures, almost as if every known children's story had been combined in one. There's space travel and time travel and evil villains and holiday sentiments and adventures, adventures, adventures.” –The Seattle Times


“Every chapter in this book is marvelous, but the real delight derives from Masefield’s style and the idiosyncratic, colorful speech of his various characters…Lovely stuff.” –The Washington Post


“This book is a writer’s oft-raided treasure trove…the world’s best ‘crossover book’…It does time-travel better than Narnia…The story floats on brilliant, eccentric dialogue and…never loses its snowy-Christmas, Nutcracker enchantment…” –The Independent (UK)


“Masefield the children’s writers is unbeatable.” –The Daily Telegraph (UK)


Product Details
ISBN: 9781590172513
ISBN-10: 1590172515
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2007
Pages: 296
Language: English