“Mr Hawlings will give you a much older version of the Punch and Judy play, which his grandfather used to play upon the roads.”
As for many readers these days, I can’t remember if I read the book or saw the amazing BBC adaption first, but my children’s classic of choice is The Box of Delights by John Masefield. My yellow Puffin paperback version of the book was probably a little battered when I first got it, but I’ve poured over it many times since including, one December, reading it aloud with my wife.
Of the tales about Kay Harker, The Box of Delights, a sequel to The Midnight Folk, is the more successful of the two books. It’s a faster paced and a more exciting story with higher stakes. Mr Cole Hawlings entrusts the magical Box of Delights to Kay Hawker to stop the box falling into the hands of Abner Brown and the ‘wolves’ that are after it. Kay must use the box’s powers, which allows the owner to shrink, fly and enter the past, to save the Punch and Judy man and defeat the evil gang who are ‘scrobbling’ the clergy of Tatchester Cathedral threatening the Millennial Christmas Service.
It’s time to lay your hands on a copy of The Box of Delights and sometime after Halloween start reading it. You won’t regret it.
Benjamin Scott is the ghost-author of eight books (including five books in the Star Fighters series by Max Chase). A creative writing tutor, he’s taught at a range of schools and organisations, including the Oxford University Continuing Education Department and Swanwick, the Writers’ Summer School. He also mentors other writers through his critiquing and editorial service. His agent is Gillie Russell at Aitken Alexander Associates.
Ben can be found on Twitter: @Benjamin_Scott
His web site is: www.benjaminscott.net