Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Box of Delights

Title: The Box of Delights

Author: John Masefield

Number of pages: 168

Started: 21 December 2010

Finished: 28 December 2010

Opening words:

AS KAY WAS coming home for the Christmas holidays, after his first term at school, the train stopped at Musborough Station. An old man, ringing a hand-bell, went along the platform, crying “Musborough Junction . . . Change for Tatchester and Newminster.”

Kay knew that he had to change trains there, with a wait of forty minutes. He climbed down onto the platform in the bitter cold and stamped his feet to try to get warmth into them. The old man, ringing the hand-bell, cried, “All for Condicote and Tatchester. . . All for Yockwardine and Newminster go to Number Five Platform by the subway.”

Read a longer extract here.

Plot summary:

A magical old man has asked Kay to protect the Box of Delight, a Box with which he can travel through time. But Kay is in danger: Abner Brown will stop at nothing to get his hands on it. The police don't believe Kay so when his family are scrobbled up, he knows he must act alone.

What I thought:

I wanted to read this book to try and get me into the Christmas spirit, having seen the TV version of this as a child. I think the book had a certain charm to it, but was perhaps showing this age a bit (both it terms of when it was written and also that it is a children’s book). The book was readable but not as evocative of Christmas etc as I had hoped. I might possibly give it a go another Christmas when my mind is not on trying to complete the Costa shortlist and see if it fares any better.

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