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

67 customer reviews

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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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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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 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 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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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tom Tripp on November 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story of God's love shines through powerfully in this children's fantasy tale, especially concerning the matter of trusting God when we cannot perceive any good in a particular situation.
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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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JamesWorld on June 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If this is a children's book I'm happy to finally have arrived. I am a grateful child at 67. Grateful for George MacDonald's heart that comes through so tenderly in this book. Grateful for his art in touching my heart so profoundly with his own. Grateful to the heart that lit the fire in his, and hopefully will keep it burning in mine. The story is powerfully and wonderfully told.
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