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The Box of Delights (Hardcover)
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 was a well-known English poet and novelist. After boarding school, Masefield took to a life at sea where he picked up many stories, which influenced his decision to become a writer. Upon returning to England after finding work in New York City, Masefield began publishing his poetry in periodicals, and then eventually in collections. In 1915, Masefield joined the Allied forces in France and served in a British army hospital there, despite being old enough to be exempt from military service. After a brief service, Masefield returned to Britain and was sent overseas to the United States to research the American opinion on the war. This trip encouraged him to write his book Gallipoli, which dealt with the failed Allied attacks in the Dardanelles, as a means of negating German propaganda in the Americas. Masefield continued to publish throughout his life and was appointed as Poet Laureate in 1930. Masefield died in 1967 the age of 88.
“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 pull...in 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)