The Box of Delights by John Masefield

#12 Books of Christmas - The Box of Delights by John Masefield

Welcome to Day 2 of #12 Books of Christmas

Day 1 - Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand

When does Christmas start for you? Is it a particular event or when you first hear 'Last Christmas' by Wham being played on the radio? For me, I usually start planning Christmas after my Mum's birthday in September. And then by late November I've usually only just started Christmas books, films and the occasional tub of Quality Street. But I always feel Christmassy, when I hear Profokiev's Troike being played. I love this tune because it reminds me of the most wonderful Christmas TV series I watched as a child in the 1980s. This was, of course, The Box of Delights. The TV adaptation of which remained extremely faithful to the book, and it is a book I also love.

Kay Harker travelling to his home, Seekings, at the end of term, encounters a kind and enigmatic Punch and Judy Man, Cole Hawlings. He tells Kay that 'the wolves are running'. What then follows is an adventure featuring magic, mystery, scrobbling and a mysterious box that can make the user go swift, go small or go back in time. Meanwhile as the local Cathedral gets ready for its 1000 year celebrations, members of the clergy and Cathedral staff start disappearing. Can Kay save Cole Hawlings? can he save the Cathedral celebrations and why does one of the few clergy not scrobbled resemble an old enemy of Kay's?

I loved watching the Box of Delights as a child and it was wonderful to read this again. It has a real end of term feel and excitement for the Christmas holidays about it. There are talking animals, snow, glorious Christmas parties and a merry little trip through history and folklore. Kay is an engaging, assured character and I loved his cousin, Maria, who always has a pair of pistols on her and gets into the most awful scrapes. The 'baddies' are led by Abner Brown, deliciously disguising himself as the wonderfully names Father Boddledale.

Is you are a fan of 'The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe' then this would be a lovely addition to your bookshelf. It also heavily influenced one of my Top 10 books 'The Dark is Rising', especially the parts featuring Herne the Hunter.

The language is lovely, rich and evocative with lots of 1930s slang which Kay is normally admonished for saying. Best of all the book makes me feel like a child again, getting excited for Christmas.

So if you are fancying a classic children's Christmas classic adventure, then I would definitely recommend this to you.