George Macdonald

The Princess and Curdie

Author(s): 
George MacDonald
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The Princess and Curdie continues the fantasy saga begun in MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin. This novel gets off to a slower start than the first one in the series, but it is just as attention-holding. Curdie, the young hero, is put to the test in this story, and must prove himself both brave and loyal, whilst remaining trustworthy and honest. In this story, Curdie is given the gifts of a magic of his own that can only be used for others and a faithful but unusual traveling companion. His quest takes him to the home of the Princess and provides a grand adventure, with the final suspenseful battle calling him to give his best.

This novel takes place just a short time after the events in the previous book and is best enjoyed by reading the first tale first. This classic work is also written on many different levels, and numerous allegorical references to Christianity are present. The ending is expected yet surprising and leaves the reader wanting more. We read this book in an inexpensive paperback edition, and we found the "word pictures" wonderful for stirring the imagination. I have been on the lookout for an illustrated edition to compare the artist's ideas with my own. The children also adored this story, although my 9 and 12-year-olds liked it best.

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The Princess and the Goblin

Author(s): 
George MacDonald
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The Princess and the Goblin is a classic fantasy novel written in the late 1800s by George MacDonald. The story features all of the elements of a great fairy tale: a young princess, a brave hero on the verge of adulthood, subtle magic, and more goblins than can be counted. There is enough adventure to keep the story moving, but the plot is not overwhelming or difficult to follow. There is nothing to recommend a caution for: no rough language, no adult situations, and very little violence. The violent scenes were in the context of the battles between good and evil and avoided gory descriptions. We read this novel in a beautifully illustrated edition; it is worth looking for one that has the lovely full-color plates.

But more than that, the story is written on several levels and can be enjoyed by many different age groups. After reading The Mysteries of Life in Children's Literature, I was anxious to begin reading this book aloud to my children. I had hesitated, thinking that my mainly-male audience would protest a "fairy tale". Their reaction surprised me! All of the children looked forward to the next chapter of the book, although the 9- and 12-year-olds enjoyed it the most.

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