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At the Back of the North Wind (Everyman's Library Children's Classics) Hardcover – October 16, 2001


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At the Back of the North Wind (Everyman's Library Children's Classics) + The Princess and the Goblin (Looking Glass Library) + The Princess and Curdie (Puffin Classics)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Series: Everyman's Library Children's Classics
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (October 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375413359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375413353
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A Victorian fairy tale that has enchanted readers for more than a hundred years: the magical story of Diamond, the son of a poor coachman, who is swept away by the North Wind?a radiant, maternal spirit with long, flowing hair?and whose life is transformed by a brief glimpse of the beautiful country ?at the back of the north wind.? It combines a Dickensian regard for the working class of mid-19th-century England with the invention of an ethereal landscape, and is published here alongside Arthur Hughes?s handsome illustrations from the original 1871 edition.

About the Author

George MacDonald (1824—1905) was a prolific writer, yet it is his fantasies for children that have survived. A minister of the Congregational church, MacDonald resigned after a disagreement with his deacons and from 1853 earned his living by lecturing and writing.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke VINE VOICE on January 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book reminded me a great deal of "The Little Prince" by Antoine Saint-Exubery, the main difference being that the underlying philosophy here is Christian, as opposed to the Easternish philosophy of the former book. Like "The Little Prince", it speaks quietly and simply of things that are so true we tend to overlook or forget them. Unlike the mentioned book, this one brings in harsher elements, such as poverty and abuse -- and shows how the simple wisdom of a child can overcome them. MacDonald's imagination is wonderful, and some of the dreams and fairy tales in the book almost outshine the "real" story. I love the children who dig for stars. This is one I enjoyed because it is so different, so simple and beautiful, and one I look forward to sharing with my children, should I ever have any.
PS - My sister read an edited, abridged version of this book, one rewritten to make it easier for children, and it was awful. It skipped whole chapters and left out some of the very best parts. I think kids can handle this book, just the way it was written. Stay away from nasty abridgements that are really censorship in disguise!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Q. McAuley on March 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. I've read it 3 times, all as an adult. The fragility of life is portrayed in the person of little Diamond, an innocent, sickly child. Though MacDonald is occasionally preachy, (yet on target), he writes a story that will fill you with wonder and sorrow.

I so recommend this book. It is one of my top 5 favorite books of fiction.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julia Gwin on July 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is handsomely made. The illustrations are lovely, the frontispiece elegant, the pages heavy and the print very dark and readable. The story itself is a work of powerful, simple, and beautiful truth. A very good read aloud and discussion book. The author's handling of the drunken cabman chapter is a wonder of insight and wisdom. What a powerful book of goodness, for child and adult alike.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Costa on October 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A charming and touching childrens novel that I didn’t discover until age 52, it was written in England by a former Congregationalist minister in the time of Queen Victoria . It is the story of a frail, impoverished child and his family facing difficult circumstances in Dickensian London. While on the surface it seems a simple story, it is a stylistically sophisticated mix of realism and surrealism with interposed extended dream passages, original fairy tales, and mantric nursery rhymes. Its clear purpose is in moral and religious education, written to affirm both the existence and goodness of God and the essential goodness of His creation. Never facile or preachy, the author confronts the presence of evil and adversity, and shows considerable psychological insight in the treatment of his characters.

I suspect that it would be difficult for today’s elementary students to read and understand the work without assistance because of its style and the alienness of its world. Older, more worldly and pseudo sophisticated middle schoolers may find it naïve or jejune. However I would encourage it for the special child and adults who still have some sense of wonder left in themselves.

This particular edition is handsome and an excellent value. The novel’s otherworldly magic is enhanced by the many original illustrations by preraphaelite artist, Arthur Hughes. I will be giving a copy to a right person this Christmas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Milton W. Talbot Jr. on May 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A beautiful edition of this wonderful and timeless children's classic. Elegantly done, great illustrations, clear readable print. Recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This edition of "At the Back of the North Wind" by George MacDonald is, like all the other Everyman's Library editions I have purchased, absolutely gorgeous. It is made of a burgundy-colored cloth material with gold embossed writing on the cover & spine, the paper quality is spectacular, and it has its own bookmark (always nice). And from what I can see IT IS NOT ABRIDGED OR EDITED in any way. Oh, and did I mention what an incredible value it is...? Something like $12 if I'm not mistaken. I would get it while you can!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven Torchia on July 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A hauntingly beautiful book, almost Dickensian in scope, written during the same period of Victorian England, providing stark insight into the cavernous divide between wealth and poverty. The characters are more realistic than colorful (except for North Wind, of course), and the fairy tale "Little Daylight" and the dream sequences are magical. A sophisticated children's novel that will probably delight adults even more.
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By Leigh G. on September 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read this book years ago, & was glad to have the chance to buy it now for myself. The hardback is well-made, print easy enough to read & so far no misprints. The pictures are a nice addition to the story. He's evidently telling it to a little boy about Diamond's age & keeps the language simple enough generally -- though remember he's writing in another generation & (if you're a Yank like me) another country, so keep a dictionary handy or keep your computer fired up to look things up -- I'm one of those strange types who doesn't mind doing that.
MacDonald was a Christian minister, so of course some readers will discount his writings.
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