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Opening The Box of Delights, by Philip W. Errington

27 November 2020

FEW famous children’s books are more closely tied to Christmas than the one in which the Anglican midnight eucharist at Tatchester Cathedral is in peril when the Wolves are Running. It is the focus of Opening The Box of Delights: A stunning visual celebration of John Masefield’s Christmas classic by Philip W. Errington (DLT, £20 (£18); 978-0-232-53487-0) — and it was made into a magical BBC TV series in 1984 which is still fondly remembered, not least by a 2000-member “appreciation society”. Errington unfolds the background to Masefield himself and the adventures of the boy hero, Kay Harker, in a book filled with pictures and facts. Even the Church Times features; for in 1935 its reviewer wondered whether Masefield was satirising the errors of the press when he let the Bishop be styled “His Grace”. GP

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