Summerbook #2: The Midnight Folk
I've long wished to read The Box of Delights, but I've never come across a copy (and it's still a few years away from becoming public domain). I think it's not very well known in the US. I did find The Midnight Folk, though, and it turns out to be the story that comes first. So now I'm all ready for the Box if I ever find it.
Kay Harker is a nice little orphan boy of maybe ten, living in the care of a boring and fussy governess who doesn't really allow him to do anything. His beloved toys are gone, he may not play with neighbors...but then the cat Nibbins talks to Kay and leads him into a night-time world of excitement. Kay's great-grandfather, Captain Harker, comes alive from his portrait and tells his story of woe -- how he was entrusted with a fabulous treasure and lost it at sea. And there are witches infesting the house!
So Kay embarks on an adventure, tracking down the lost treasure with the Midnight Folk. He must find it before the witches, and their ally Abner Brown, do, but they have spies everywhere. Highwaymen, pirates, peppery old ladies, cats and owls all combine into a puzzle Kay must solve.
It is, in fact, a very confusing tale, with a lot of characters. But it's also quite wonderful, and I like thinking of all the children who must have thrilled to Kay's adventures. I enjoyed this a lot.