I had decided this summer to re-tool my sophomore English class and teach genres that don’t always get taught in small, private schools. One of those genres, and one of my favorites, is Fantasy. So I’ve been trying to read as much YA Fantasy as I can, looking for contemporary and classic works. One of the classics that I’ve stumbled across is George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin. Interestingly, C.S. Lewis saw Mr. MacDonald as an inspiration for writing.
Mr. MacDonald’s style is very Victorian and the story is way too juvenile for high school Sophomores. Not only are the characters not even in their teens but they act very childish. This seems very much like a contemporary of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. The story reads very quickly, which helps it not wear on my patience. I shocked at how fast I tore threw it.
This is a simple story of a princess who makes friends with a young miner (apparently there’s no child labor laws in this kingdom). The young miner, Curdie, ends up spoiling a plot by the goblins who live under the mountain to capture the princess, Irene and marry her to the goblin prince. There’s a fairly god-mother figure who aids Irene and Curdie. Some of the lessons she teaches them are interpreted by some to be the author’s Christian philosophy, but this is a superficial interpretation at best. For parents who read to their kids at night, this would be a book I would highly recommend. Even though there’s chapters, the plots not too complex that if you only read several chapters a night, kids won’t loose the thread of the story.