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The Golden Key (Dodo Press) Paperback – February 20, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Dodo Press (February 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409957136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409957133
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,756,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[This] "edition illustrated with remarkable sensitivity makes available once more one of the most beautiful of allegorical fairy tales...The story is itself a key that will open to many children a door on their own imaginative experiences and the pleasure and mystery of allegorical speculation." --The Horn Book

"A new edition illustrated with remarkable sensitivity makes available once more one of the most beautiful of allegorical fairy tales...The story tells of the girl and boy, Tangle and Mossy, who meet and travel together to a mysterious land. For a while their paths separate as Tangle encounters, one after another, the three Old Men--of the Sea, of the Earth, and of the Fire--and she grows wiser and more beautiful with each stage of her journey. Tangle is reunited at last with Mossy, who carries the golden key, and they reach the rainbow, climbing along it toward the 'country whence the shadows fall.' The story, full of dreamlike events and exquisite images, is itself a key that will open to many children a door on their own imaginative experiences and the pleasure and mystery of allegorical speculation." --Horn Book
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Scottish novelist and poet, especially popular for his children's literature. MacDonald is acclaimed for his innovative fairy tales in which he masterfully weaves together his imagination with Christian symbolism. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
Great story about life.
Sven
I don't understand all of it even now, but the more I read (especially of C.S. Lewis, who admired MacDonald's work), the more interesting the book becomes.
methylethel
I've re-read this book at least once a year for the past 20+ years and am encouraged each time.
William Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on March 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
A couple of shortish pieces by the great 19th Century Scottish clergyman and writer George MacDonald were illustrated by Maurice Sendak in the 1960s, and they are now available in attractive paperback editions from Sunburst. One is a very light-hearted story called _The Light Princess_, and the other is a mystical and lovely fairy tale called _The Golden Key_.
_The Golden Key_ is the story of two children, a boy and a girl, who live (not together) on the border of Fairyland. The boy has been told that at the end of the rainbow he can find a golden key -- it is not to be sold, and no one knows what door it may open, but it will surely lead somewhere wonderful. One day he sees a rainbow, and decides to follow it into Fairyland, where it seems the end of it might be -- and there he finds the golden key. Meantime, the girl, much mistreated, wanders into the forest of Fairyland, following a strange owl-like flying fish. Soon she meets a beautiful, ageless, woman, and she learns that she and the boy must journey together, looking for the keyhole into which the golden key will fit.
Their journey is long (though the story is short), and quite wonderful. They meet some strange and wise old men, and encounter many beautiful and curious sights. At last, of course, they find the doorway with keyhole. The ending is unexpected and quite moving and beautiful.
It is tempting to try to analyze this story -- is it an allegory of marriage? or the story of a joint journey to salvation? Perhaps, though, as W. H. Auden suggests in his afterword, it is best to simply let yourself be absorbed by the story, to enjoy its lovely and haunting images. This book is listed as for ages 4-8, which is absurd -- it will satisfy all ages, and if anything the target audience is definitely older children than 8.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
It is a pity that George MacDonald is usually thought of as a writer of children's stories. The Golden Key is a fairy tale but there are few children indeed who will truly appreciate the symbolism and mystery of scenes like the journey through the valley of shadows. This one has me thinking and wondering for weeks after each time I read it.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A perfect fairy tale, lovely and deeply moving, containing more within its few short pages than most novels could ever hope to achieve. While sensitive children will certainly enjoy it, I think adult readers will discover far more - rich in symbolism, which never overwhelms the narrative, and conveying an atmosphere of unearthly peace, "The Golden Key" acquires a patina of subtle beauty and meaning with each new reading. Highly recommended!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By methylethel on February 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book while I was reading my way through the library's fairy tale shelf. I didn't understand any of the symbolism at the time, but I still liked it. I don't understand all of it even now, but the more I read (especially of C.S. Lewis, who admired MacDonald's work), the more interesting the book becomes. I like the way the shadow-lands idea seen here gets more fleshed out in C.S. Lewis' Narnia book The Last Battle, and both are probably derived from the cave allegory in Plato.
Some people will probably be turned off by the allegorical aspect. I think of it as an interesting little puzzle.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
There aren't many fairy tales that catch my fancy, but "The Golden Key" is pure ambrosia for the mind. It's a complete tale with adventure, tragedy, imagination, and above all; morals! The illustrations by Sendak are a perfect compliment to MacDonald's story. My children were captivated by this book as much as I. This story is just as enriching as the Narnia stories by C.S. lewis. I wish there were more stories such as this, rather than those Goosebump or Harry Potter books disguised as good reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Golden Key" is a wonderful tale, written with great skill. I have to admit that I have not seen this version, but illustrations by Sendak should be excellent (in fact, perhaps enough to tempt me into purchasing a 2nd copy!). I would like to point out that C.S. Lewis considered George MacDonald to be one of his greatest inspirations, and if you enjoy his works (Chronicles of Narnia, Screwtape Letters, etc.) you should truly enjoy this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sergius Paulus on January 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
An earlier reviewer mentioned the difficulty of understanding the imagery of the story and another suggested (perhaps rightly) that the golden key represents Christ. C.S. Lewis believed it represented "the talent for loving", and having read the book numerous times, especially to nephews and nieces, I agree. Without giving away too much, notice the differences between Mossy's and Tangle's journey after their separation (physical death), especially how they saw the Old Man of the Sea. One might need to have read more of MacDonald's works (especially Unspoken Sermons) to get at his view of how love affects our ability to "see". His "At the Back of the North Wind" contains another wonderful example when North Wind explains to Diamond why she had to appear as a dreadful wolf to an old woman.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Marcus on July 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
Just read "The Golden Key" for the first time. As soon as I finished, I read it for a second time. And now I will admit, this is the first George MacDonald book I've ever read. If all his work is as good as this enchanting story, I'm hooked on MacDonald.

Reminded me a bit of a fanciful version of "Pilgrim's Progress". The images, story and characters are simply gorgeous. I'm sure each time I read it, I will discover more of the allegorical symbolism, but I could care less about "figuring it all out". It's such a deep, imaginative story--that builds and builds and does not disappoint. :)
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