Wednesday, 24 April 2019

"The King of the Golden River" by John Rushkin and Quentin Blake (Thames and Hudson)

Time for a beautiful new clothbound edition of a classic story, with all new visuals by one of the most widely celebrated artists working in children's literature today.

"The King of the Golden River" by John Rushkin, with illustrations by Sir Quentin Blake, is a gorgeous edition of a book that first came out in 1851.

A victorian moral story, the tale of three brothers black. Gluck the kind-natured big hearted brother, and his two older siblings Hans and Schwartz who mistreat their younger brother terribly.

For Gluck, play is cleaning the floors, and his education consists of a wholesome quantity of punches courtesy of his nasty older sibs (what rotters!) 

One stormy evening, Gluck is left at home to prepare his older brothers’ dinner when an extraordinary-looking little man knocks at the door. 

Having been strictly warned not to let anyone in, Gluck watches as the little old man becomes increasingly drenched at the door. His soft heart tells him to ignore his brothers’ advice, and so Gluck’s encounter with the mysterious King of the Golden River begins. 

Appearing at first as a beggar, then the Southwest Wind, and finally as a Toby jug who Gluck unwittingly transforms into a dwarf, the King of the Golden River issues Gluck with a challenge: to climb to the source of the Golden River and cast into the stream three drops of holy water. 

If he can achieve this, the river will turn to gold.

There's truly nothing like this for kids these days, so it's actually pretty amazing to hark back to a time when children's stories were wordy but worthy, long but utterly absorbing. 

Sum this book up in a sentence: A gripping fairy tale aided perfectly by the addition of Quentin Blake's glorious scritchy-scratchy art style for a luxurious new edition, this is a real keeper. 

"The King of the Golden River" by John Rushkin and Sir Quentin Blake is out now, published by Thames and Hudson (kindly supplied for review).