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The Midnight Folk (Hardcover)
The Midnight Folk introduces readers to Kay Harker, the orphaned boy who is also the hero of John Masefield’s classic Christmas fantasy, The Box of Delights. Kay lives in a vast old country house, and is looked after by an unpleasant duo: the oily and egregious Sir Theopompous and the petulant and punitive Sylvia Daisy Pouncer. In her zeal to educate Kay on the finer points of Latin grammar, Sylvia Daisy has even taken away all of Kay’s toys. Life seems very dull, until out of an old family portrait steps Kay’s great-grandfather, a sea captain, who, if legend is to be believed, made off with a fabulous treasure.
Soon Kay is engaged in a thrilling quest that begins each night as the clock strikes twelve, taking him into the enchanted and dangerous world of the Midnight Folk: pirates, highwaymen, talking animals, and a gang of witches led by none other than Sylvia Daisy (in cahoots, as in The Box of Delights, with the arch-villain Abner Brown). In the end, it is that ragtag team of old toys that rallies to support Kay and save the day.
A book to set beside C.S. Lewis’s Narnia tales and Joan Aiken’s Wolves of Willoughby Chase—not to mention the Harry Potter series—The Midnight Folk is a wonderful and enthralling contribution to the great English tradition of children’s literature, beloved by adults and children alike.
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.
Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was the Newbery Medal-winning author of more than 60 books, including the much-loved "A Wrinkle in Time". Born in 1918, L'Engle grew up in New York City, Switzerland, South Carolina and Massachusetts. Her father was a reporter and her mother had studied to be a pianist, and their house was always full of musicians and theater people. L'Engle graduated cum laude from Smith College, then returned to New York to work in the theater. While touring with a play, she wrote her first book, "The Small Rain", originally published in 1945. She met her future husband, Hugh Franklin, when they both appeared in "The Cherry Orchard". Upon becoming Mrs. Franklin, L'Engle gave up the stage in favor of the typewriter. In the years her three children were growing up, she wrote four more novels. Hugh Franklin temporarily retired from the theater, and the family moved to western Connecticut and for ten years ran a general store. Her book "Meet the Austins", an American Library Association Notable Children's Book of 1960, was based on this experience. Her science fantasy classic "A Wrinkle in Time" was awarded the 1963 Newbery Medal. Two companion novels, "A Wind in the Door" and "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" (a Newbery Honor book), complete what has come to be known as The Time Trilogy, a series that continues to grow in popularity with a new generation of readers. Her 1980 book "A Ring of Endless Light" won the Newbery Honor. L'Engle passed away in 2007 in Litchfield, Connecticut.
In its playful inventiveness and eventfulness, this fantasy is the grandparent of Mary Poppins, of Joan Aiken's Dido Twite books, and even of Eleanor Farjeon's short story collections...Names such as Brassy Cop, Pimply Whatto and young Roper Bilges - or Sir Hassle Gassle - can still amuse, even after 80 years, and there are only a few moments when attitudes grate on modern sensibilities. Hilder's black and white illustrations, from the 1930s, hark back to the era of 19th century boys' adventure stories. They also give the book added spice." --The Toronto Star
“Mr. Masefield has written the sort of book that grown-up people like to give a child for Christmas, and then enjoy reading for themselves. The Midnight Folk is a story to be read aloud in the traditional Winter fireside setting….The style is imaginative and glamorous…Children will like to hear their elders read the tale.” –The New York Times
“John Masefield's much-loved 1920s children's book about a boy who must fight dark magic to uncover his family's treasure. It won't be easy, but luckily he has an owl, a fox, a cat and a box of toys to help him on his way.” –The Guardian (London)
“An imaginative and adventurous tale.” –The New York Times
“Masefield the children’s writers is unbeatable… The Midnight Folk is a truly remarkable book.” –Daily Telegraph (London)
A “charming tale…Pirates and buried treasure, smugglers and witches, mermaids and an ancient wrong, all have parts in this story of the small boy who had friends among the animals, and lived a life of adventure when he was supposed to be asleep.” –The Bookman
“There is a little boy for hero, there are witches, a good deal of excellent magic, a hidden treasure, and a profusion of talking animals and toys come to life…It may be added that anyone who has, in infancy, greatly disliked his governess will derive a special gratification from The Midnight Folk.” –The Living Age (London)