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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a sense of the Holy
C.S. Lewis has written of encountering a sense of the holy while reading the works of George MacDonald. I agree with Lewis' assessment when it comes to "The Princess and the Goblin." Anyone who reads this book with profit by having done so.
First, and perhaps most importantly "The Princess and the Goblin" is a delightful story. There is a lot of the "just plain fun...
Published on February 6, 2002 by NotATameLion

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad printing of a GREAT book-!
The quality of this printing is horrible and does not include any ink illustration, which all others I have seen DID include. Find another version, perhaps an older one and DO order this story, just not this particular book!
Published on December 30, 2008 by Danny


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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a sense of the Holy, February 6, 2002
This review is from: The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) (Paperback)
C.S. Lewis has written of encountering a sense of the holy while reading the works of George MacDonald. I agree with Lewis' assessment when it comes to "The Princess and the Goblin." Anyone who reads this book with profit by having done so.
First, and perhaps most importantly "The Princess and the Goblin" is a delightful story. There is a lot of the "just plain fun reading" stuff going on in this story. There is also a lot more.
MacDonald has buried a lot of treasures within the cave walls of his story. If the reader looks carefully as they follow the fates of Irene and Curdie, they will find these jewels just sitting there shining in the darkness, ready to be mined. There are nuggets of wisdom to be gained here in the dialogue, the narration, and in the overall arch of the story.
More than this, MacDonald's story features the best of what was Romantic literature and blends it with the greatest characteristics of fairy tales--then he turns convention on its head. Some examples:
-Whereas in fairy tales wisdom is associated with the old and knowledgeable, wisdom is here associated with innocence.
-While in traditional tales, it is the hero who saves the princess, here the princess must rescue the hero.
-Fans of modern fantasy may be used to Providential Guidance being related to male literary figures such as Tolkien's Gandalf, Lewis' Aslan. Here the figure is Feminine--the Grandmother.
In the process of playing off of and twisting traditional Romantic literature and fairy tales MacDonald manages to transcend both genres and create a truly original work of wonder.
I recommend the "Princess and the Goblin" most highly. Get it today. Just be careful that you don't pick up an abridgment--they tend to rip out the heart of the tale in an attempt to make the text more modern (neutered).
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic well worth seeking out, October 1, 2000
This wonderful children's novel tells the story of eight year old Princess Irene. Cared for by her nurse Lootie, she lives in a mountain farmhouse while her father rules over the region from a mountain top castle. The local folk work as miners but are beset by the Goblins who inhabit the underground. Irene is saved from the Goblins by Curdie, a thirteen year old miner, and she in turn saves him. The whole thing is told in a pleasant conversational style and is filled with humor, word games, magic, derring-do, and pure wonderment.
George MacDonald, a Congregational minister turned novelist, who seems nearly forgotten now, was one of the seminal figures in the development of Fantasy. His influence on other Fantasy authors is obvious, he was a childhood favorite of JRR Tolkein, who especially liked this book, and C.S. Lewis named him one of his favorite authors. His own stories draw on many of the themes and characters of classical European fairy tales. But where they were often merely horrific and meaningless, MacDonald adds a layer of Christian allegory. Thus, Irene and Curdie are eventually saved by a thread so slender that you can't even see it, but which leads them back to safety, teaching Curdie that you sometimes have to believe in things that you can't see.
The book would be interesting simply as a touchstone of modern fiction, but it stands up well on its own and will delight adults and children alike.
GRADE: A
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dover Edition is not Unabridged, as marked on cover, October 14, 2005
I have two copies of this wonderful book in front of me...the Dover Juvenile Classics edition and the beautiful hardcover by Macmillan. Not only does the Dover edition omit all the sweet pictures, but right from the very first page it omits a sweet exchange between "Mr. Author" and an unnamed interlocutor--reminiscent of the story interruptions by the "real" Christopher Robin and the narrator of the Pooh stories. If something has obviously been cut out right from the first page, I'd bet other passages have been cut out, too. Perhaps this is unabridged from some version of the story, but it is definitely not the most complete text available. Stick to the hardcover or deluxe versions of the text for the real thing.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Few Pro's and Con's to the Puffin Classics Edition, August 3, 2007
This review is from: The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) (Paperback)
The Princess and the Goblin is a truly delightful tale that is beautifully told by George MacDonald and deserves five stars. But, I will not attempt to review the story itself, for there are such wonderful descriptions and testimonies from other reviewers on this page concerning the content of MacDonald's work. However, I would like to describe the Puffin Classics edition in a little more detail. Please be aware that the Puffin's paperback cover is very soft and not as durable as other paperback covers. As well, the paper quality is rather grainy, which may not hold up well in the years to come. Thus, I have allotted this product four stars. On a positive note, I am pleased that the publishers kept the nostalgic illustrations by Arthur Hughes. Also, this copy has been edited well for typos and simple mistakes. With these particular points in mind, I would like to encourage the potential buyer to consider other editions of the text as well. Everyman's Childrens Library (The Princess and the Goblin (Everyman's Library Children's Classics Series)) has produced a hardback copy, which may be a better choice if the copy is to be given to a child. Also, for the MacDonald researcher or literary student, I would highly recommend the Johannesen edition(The Princess and the Goblin (George Macdonald Original Works)) since it is an authoritative edition. However, when it comes to the price, the Puffin Classics edition can not help but to be rather tempting. I hope these few notes have been helpful - Happy shopping.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantasy Classic, November 9, 2002
By 
This story is a classic of its kind and was influential in the ongoing development of contemporary fantasy. It combined several pre-existing story elements into a tale with adventure, monsters, morals, and a touch of faery. It is probably no accident that this story is so similiar in tone to Tolkien's fantasies.

While I am considerably older than the targeted age group, I found the story to be exciting with a touch of mysticism and mystery. And, yes, it does have a stong moral ending.

The princess was thoroughly in character. While overly mature for her age, she exemplifies the British ideal of nobility. And Curdie represented the best of the British working class. As the saying goes, they continually kept their heads while everyone else around them were losing theirs. Although such virtues have been downplayed and vilified in recent times, they are still strong survival skills.

MacDonald maintains a sense of suspense and mystery throughout the story, with a good mix of action and reflection. While the authorial comments might seem strange, they do ring true as part of a verbal presentation. Children will ask questions and will insist on clearing up the odd puzzlement.

I came upon this story by accident, but I enjoyed it enough to pass it on.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a note about illustration, July 3, 2000
So many fine reviews here already about MacDonald's powerful text (for children and adults). I would only add that this edition which includes 8 or 10 gentle and mysterious drawings (watercolors?) by Jessie Wilcox Smith portrays the fearful goblins (also Curdie, Irene, and her father, etc.) without weakening the strength of the tale or scaring the young reader. I purchased this book for an avid seven-year-old reader who loved the story and also commented on the "beautiful" pictures. The book is also good to read aloud to a number of children in a broad age range. My too-cool 11-year-old became mesmerized after the first chapter and found himself talking with his younger brother (!) about the story.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Narnia? Youď¿˝ll love this!, October 5, 2001
This review is from: The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) (Paperback)
So you love C.S. Lewis� Narnia Chronicles? There people who don�t are few and far between. One of the biggest influences on C.S. Lewis was this man, George MacDonald (1824-1905). It was MacDonald�s talent for telling fairy stories that inspired Lewis in writing his own. Like Lewis, MacDonald has a remarkable ability to tell a delightful and enchanting story for children, layered with strong Christian themes and imagery by means of allegory and symbols. �The Princess and the Goblin� is one of his most beloved works for children, and an excellent introduction to his style and success.
�The Princess and the Goblin� features a heroine � a princess called Irene � and a hero � a simple miner�s son called Curdie. While working overtime in the mines to earn money to buy his mother a red petty-coat, Curdie chances upon the goblins who live in the mountain, and discovers that they are hatching an evil plot against the king and his palace. Meanwhile the princess makes a discovery of her own � high in the castle she finds a wonderful old lady who is her great-great-grandmother. The problem is, nobody else knows of her grandmother, and nobody believes her. But the princess does believe, and it is by her faith in her grandmother and the magic thread that she receives from her, that she is able to rescue Curdie. Together they rescue the entire palace from disaster at the hands of the goblins.
In telling the story, MacDonald has an enchanting conversational style, wonderfully suitable for reading aloud to enraptured children � an ability perfecting in telling stories to his own eleven children. But �The Princess and the Goblin� is more than just a story. Before pursuing a literary career, MacDonald was a Congregationalist minister, and so integrates important underlying Christian themes. Believing in the great-great-grandmother despite the fact that many cannot see her, is a symbol of believing in God. MacDonald uses this to show how the Christian faith involves believing without seeing, and that not everyone has to �see� something for it to be true. The grandmother�s lamp and magic thread are the guides on which the princess must depend, much like the Word which is a lamp on our path. It may sound tacky, but it works.
Children are not likely to grasp the deeper underlying themes that MacDonald is working with. Nonetheless the story has a clear message for children. The clear conflict between the royal powers of light against the goblin powers of darkness is unmistakable. Moreover, the princess is presented as a model of virtue, and MacDonald frequently asserts the importance of moral virtues such as always telling the truth, keeping your word, and admitting your faults � moral virtues that are equally important for princes and princesses of God�s kingdom. Courage, honesty, grace, dignity and beauty are timeless ideals for children of all times to strive for. If you love Narnia, you�re sure to like this one, and you�ll find yourself quickly grabbing the sequel, �The Princess and Curdie.� �The Princess and the Goblin� was one of J.R.R. Tolkien�s childhood favorites, highly regarded by C.S. Lewis, described by W.H. Auden as �the only English children�s book in the same class as the Alice books�, and generally considered as a classic example of nineteenth century children�s literary fairy tales. So if you haven�t yet read this book, it�s about time you did. With admirers such as Tolkien, Lewis and Auden, if you become a MacDonald�s admirer you�ll find yourself in good company!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book evokes a sense of wonder few modern tales achieve., July 5, 1998
By A Customer
Scary Goblins, magical string, powerful songs, and a beautiful grandmother inhabit the land of a young princess in the "Princess and the Goblin." In this book MacDonald captures the illusive beauty of a traditional fairy tale. It is almost as if he recorded a tale that the Brothers Grimm missed. The plot centers on evil goblins trying to wreak havoc in the land. The princess, an honest young boy, and a magical grandmother try to stop them. I missed this book as a child. I only discovered some of the great nineteenth century children's books while in college. Many of these often neglected books are delightful, but none produced such a sense of wonder and magic as "The Princess and the Goblin." Other books that I would recommend along these lines are: "The Princess and Curdie", "The Light Princess", and "The History of Photogen and Nycteris" all by George MacDonald. Also, "The Enchanted Castle" by E. Nesbit and "The Water Babies" by Charles Kingsley.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless book, November 22, 1998
By A Customer
This book is not only beautifully written and perfect for all ages, "The Princess and the Goblin" is also morally strong and uplifting. Children of either sex will be interested in it, with a loving and beautiful grandmother, a strong and intelligent young girl, and a young boy who is intent on protecting his loved ones and uncovering the evil goblin plot. I have read this countless times, and each time I discover something new. The sequel, "The Princess and Curdie," is also worth reading. I love this book!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story full of insight, December 29, 2006
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This review is from: The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) (Paperback)
My mother read this book to me when I was four or five years old. The book was very memorable and my impressions of two of the main characters, Curdy and the grandmother, stayed with me over the years. I assumed the book had gone out of print and was surprised to come across it while browsing in a bookstore one day.

The story is magical and reading it again after so many years was very enjoyable. It was almost like undertaking a type of archaeological excavation deep into the recesses of my memories.

The author, George MacDonald (1824-1905), lived in Scotland and in addition to writing, was also a Christian minister. I later learned that he was very influential on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I personally believe that Tolkien's idea in The Hobbit of a mountain filled with goblins originated with George MacDonald's story of the goblin filled mountain in this book.

The story is a kind of allegory. There is a princess that was sent away from her father's house, a grand and beautiful palace built upon a mountain (her father is a king), to live in a house on the side of another mountain, half-way between its base and its peak. This seems to be a metaphor for the Christian idea that human spirits leave the home of their Heavenly Father, to enter mortal life. (see Wordsworth's poem: "Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home...") It seems fitting to say that mortal life is found half-way down from heaven.

Curdy is a young miner who works in the mountain with his father every day. The mountain is filled with goblins that can only come out at night. The princess lives in a castle that is very mysterious. Its foundations stretch down into the mountains where the goblins live, but its upper towers are rarely visited, and a wise old woman, who turns out to be a type of symbol of heavenly guidance, lives there.

Curdy learns about the goblins' plot to invade the palace and capture the princess, and with the help of the wise old woman is able to save the princess. Curdy is not able to see the wise old woman at first because he does not believe in her. In one telling scene, the princess brings Curdy to see the old woman, but Curdy has not yet prepared himself to believe and so cannot see her. The princess is hurt because Curdy does not believe her and wants the old woman to show herself to Curdy. To this request, the old woman wisely replies that Curdy "is not yet able to believe some things. Seeing is not believing - it is only seeing." She also admonishes the princess that someone who already sees, (because they have developed faith) must be patient with others who cannot yet see, and therefore "must be content ... to be misunderstood for a while."

George MacDonald is one of my favorite storytellers. The Princess and the Goblin has a sequel, The Princess and Curdie, which is equally enjoyable. Another great book by MacDonald is The Wise Woman. MacDonald said that he didn't write for children "but for the child-like, whether they be of five, or fifty, or seventy-five."

I am in complete agreement with the reviewer who said that anyone will profit by reading this book.
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The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics)
The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) by George MacDonald (Paperback - March 1, 1997)
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