The Box of Delights by John Masefield
When Kay Harker meets a mysterious Punch and Judy man on his way home for Christmas, he little realizes that he is about to be plunged into adventure. The old man entrusts Kay with a strange puzzle box – the Box of Delights – before suddenly disappearing. Kay soon discovers two things: the box can transport him through time and space, and there is a plot to steal it. He must battle heroically against terrifying forces of evil in order to win the day…
When I met my husband I was introduced to the BBC adaptation of The Box of Delights because it is their Christmas tradition to watch the series every Christmas. Since then I have really wanted to read the book and this Christmas I bought a copy and got reading.
I will be honest I have read more children’s books as an adult than as a child and this has got to be one of my favourites. I loved this book so much and even though I read it after Christmas it kept me in the Christmas spirit.
The slang in this book is absolutely adorable and I know it is appropriate for the time it was written but phrases like ‘scrobbled’ and ‘the purple pim’ just made me smile. The characters in this book are also fantastic and even Maria who I can’t stand in the TV adaptation is bearable in the book.
This book is so beautifully written and every scene and character is so well described that I could easily visualise everything. Abner Brown is a particular favourite of mine, he was such a fantastic baddie. Herne the Hunter and the Lady of the Oak Tree were also wonderful characters and of course Cole Hawlings.
The one thing I did find concerning was the lack of interest the police had in reports of kidnapping and missing people. Also certain characters went missing and their nearest and dearest did not seem that concerned.
This book is full of magic and wonder and it really had me enthralled and it had so many wonderful scenes in it that aren’t in the TV adaptation. My particular favourite is lunch with the field mouse in the tree. I loved Masefield’s writing and I have ordered the prequel to The Box of Delights, The Midnight Folk to read next because I am not quite ready to see the end of Kay just yet. I loved this book and it was a great first read of 2023. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.
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About the author
John Masefield (1878-1967) was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate from 1930 until 1967.