|Publisher:||Random House Distribution childrens|
|Publish Date:||Oct 2008|
|Number of Pages:||247|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.4|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.75 x 9.0 x 0.75|
Once one of the most popular English poets of the century, Masefield has fallen into undeserved neglect since his death. He was born in a Victorian house with rural vistas, which he later recalled as "living in Paradise". In childhood, he had a series of intense, visionary experiences inspired by both nature and literature, which gave him a habitual sense of participation in a greater life. These had weakened by 1891, when he entered training for the merchant naval service.
An officer on the White Star Line's Adriatic, he jumped ship in New York in 1895 and roamed across America. He returned to England two years later when a recovery of his intense childhood visions convinced him he could succeed as a writer. Masefield excelled more at narrative than at symbolism. His first book, "Salt Water Poems and Ballads" (1902), displayed the allegiance to outcasts and wanderers that marks his subject matter.
The musicality of that volume derives partly from the strong early influence of W. B. Yeats. Increasingly, Masefield experimented with colloquial diction, particularly from the lower classes. His "The Everlasting Mercy" (1911) recounted the conversion of a rural scoundrel in language that astonished many readers. Highly prolific, he produced more than 20 volumes of fiction, 17 plays, and other prose work besides his major volumes of poetry. Masefield still appeals particularly to the common reader. He was appointed poet laureate in 1930.
Author Madeleine L'Engle was born in New York City on November 29, 1918. She graduated from Smith College. She is best known for A Wrinkle in Time (1962), which won the 1963 Newbery Medal for best American children's book. While many of her novels blend science fiction and fantasy, she has also written a series of autobiographical books, including Two Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage, which deals with the illness and death of her husband, soap opera actor Hugh Franklin.
In 2004, she received a National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush. She died on September 6, 2007 of natural causes. Since 1976, Wheaton College in Illinois has maintained a special collection of L'Engle's papers, and a variety of other materials, dating back to 1919.
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.