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.
|Publisher:||New York Review Books|
|Sold by:||Penguin Random House Publisher Services|
|File size:||3 MB|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
At seventeen Masefield was living as a vagrant in America. He found work as a bar hand but eventually secured employment at a carpet factory. Thinking that journalism might allow him to write for a living, Masefield returned to England in 1897.
Masefield’s first volume of oetry, Salt-Water Ballads, was published in 1902, however, it was not until the publication of The Everlasting Mercy in 1911 that he made his mark on the literary scene. The success of his second book was followed by the publication of several long narrative poems, including Dauber (1914) and Reynard the Fox (1919).
With the outbreak of the war, Masefield became an orderly at a hospital in France. He also took charge of a motorboat ambulance service at Gallipoli in 1915. After the Allied failure there, Masefield visited America and undertook a series of lectures in support of the war effort. IN 1930 he was appointed Poet Laureate, and five years later the much-loved Masefield was awarded the Order of Merit. He died on May 12, 1967, and his ashes were interred in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.
The two Kay Harker books, The Midnight Folk (1927) and The Box of Delights (1935), are Masefield’s lasting contribution to children’s fantasy literature. The Box of Delights is now an established Christmas favourite and as much a part of the season as Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
Madeleine L'Engle (1918–2007) was an American writer best known for her Young Adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.