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The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) Paperback – March 1, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Paperback, March 1, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As always with George MacDonald, everything here is more than meets the eye: this in fact is MacDonald's grace-filled vision of the world. Said to be one of J.R.R. Tolkien's childhood favorites, The Princess and the Goblin is the story of the young Princess Irene, her good friend Curdie--a minor's son--and Irene's mysterious and beautiful great great grandmother, who lives in a secret room at the top of the castle stairs. Filled with images of dungeons and goblins, mysterious fires, burning roses, and a thread so fine as to be invisible and yet--like prayer--strong enough to lead the Princess back home to her grandmother's arms, this is a story of Curdie's slow realization that sometimes, as the princess tells him, "you must believe without seeing." Simple enough for reading aloud to a child (as I've done myself more than once with my daughter), it's rich enough to repay endless delighted readings for the adult. --Doug Thorpe


The Puffin Classics series is a perfect marriage of the old and the new. Enjoy some of the best books from the past and find out why and how they inspired some of the best writers of the present -- Julia Eccleshare Lovereading4kids --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Puffin Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140367462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140367461
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,002,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: 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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