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Puck of Pook's Hill (Puck #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  1,902 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
In the perfect bedtime reading, a mischievous imp called Puck delights two precocious youngsters with 10 magical fables about the hidden histories of Old England. Written especially for Kipling's own children, each enchanting myth is followed by a selection of the master storyteller's spirited poetry.
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published 1911 by Doubleday, Page & Company (first published 1906)
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J.G. Keely
The more familiar I become with Kipling's many short, fantastical works, the clearer it becomes that almost every fantasy author of the past century owes him a great debt. I have pointed out before that he has written works which lay out whole subgenres--blueprints which later authors like C.S. Lewis, H.P Lovecraft, Neal Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke have expanded upon.

And in this collection, we can see yet another branch of influence. In several stories spanning centuries of English history, Kipli
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John Frankham
Feb 08, 2017 John Frankham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A magical tale which starts when the two children, Dan and Una, are rehearsing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream in a field near their house on the South Downs. They enjoy it so much they rehearse three times in a circular clearing. This conjures up the last of the old hill people, Puck, who, through a series of narrated tableaux over several months, shows them the spirit of England, from Roman, Saxon, and Norman times, through Magna Carta to the Middle Ages.

The first chapter in simple marv
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Monica Davis
Dec 17, 2014 Monica Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
A pair of children happen across an ancient shrine, where they conjure up an impish sprite named Puck, who treats them to a series of tales about Old England.

Expect the unexpected with Puck (from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream") as your guide. Characters from various periods of history make appearances, and tell their wondrous tales. Be wary not to be magicked by Puck's "Oak, and Ash, and Thorn", lest you forget the story.
James Lyon
Oct 23, 2012 James Lyon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like Harry Potter, this book is for you!

The British have a wonderful tradition of excellent adult authors writing fantasy children’s books that are also fun reads for adults. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”, C.S. Lewis’ "Alice in Wonderland" and "Chronicles of Narnia", and J. M. Barrie’s "Peter Pan" all spring to mind. Even J.R.R. Tolkien’s "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" were YA accessible and appropriate. But who would have thought Rudyard Kipling falls into this category?

The book Puck o
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Hazel
Feb 02, 2011 Hazel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nostalgia seekers
Such a delight. I can't wait 'til my niece is old enough for this. I've revisited a number of childhood reads in recent weeks, and this is the one that has worn best. I imagine that says something about my penchant for whimsy and nostalgia. There's nothing sophisticated about Kipling's take on what made Britain great, but for some reason I can overlook all his failings as he uses fairy tales as illustration for a history lesson. I can even tolerate the AntiSemitism. Go figure.
Melinda
Written by Rudyard Kipling to amuse his children, this book is a wonderfully entertaining little gem. A brother and sister stumble across Puck, the woodland sprite of English mythology also known as Robin Goodfellow. (Those up on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" will recognize Puck as the jester to the King of the Fairies, Oberon). Puck teaches them about Old England from the time of William the Conqueror, to the Roman's guarding Hadrian's Wall against the PIcts, and even into the court ...more
Mary Findley
This is a children's story intending to teach some English history in an entertaining fashion, and it does a really good job of that. Certainly his child audience was a lot better educated than our sis today for the most part. The language and imagery is rich, even when he's not writing actual poetry. I found his religious perspective very disturbing, however, as I always do with Kipling. He is a humanist, but he also claims that Protestantism was an evil bringer of destruction and hatred to Eng ...more
Res
Nov 08, 2008 Res rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
The one where two children meet Puck, the last fairy remaining in England, and he introduces them to dead Saxons, Normans, Romans, and stories that tell of British history.

Alas for period prejudices. The story starts with the tale of Weland Smith and the sword he made, and then introduces you to charming people from various historical periods, with mostly-lovely poetry between the sections -- and just about the time you're going, "Oh, ooh, all this is going to add up to the Magna Carta," in walk
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Stephen
May 24, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another freebie read on my phone in stolen moments. A sweet romp, though the cadences were took a bit of getting used to with my modern ears. The story is a fanciful way of outlining the early history of England, with the mythical Puck introducing two children to characters out of their local history. As an American kid I never would have picked up on that, but as an adult Anglophile I was able to enjoy it immensely. Well worth your time.
Dale
Nov 11, 2015 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved reading this book. It gives so much depth to the understanding of the history of both East Sussex and Britain as a whole. It also gives one an understanding of the expanse of knowledge which Kipling had in his education. Looking up characters of legend such as 'Weland' was interesting.
Linda
Feb 01, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, classics, paranormal
Two early 20th century children, living in Pevensey, England, have a chance encounter with the legendary Puck, who undertakes to bring them a series of first hand accounts of the history of their region. Fun combination of fact and fancy.
Glas
May 11, 2012 Glas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently listened to the Librivox audio of Puck of Pook's Hill, which reminded me again how much I love Rudyard Kipling.
Catherine Hill
Sep 09, 2007 Catherine Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is charming English history for kids and people who have been taught history is boring.
Jefferson
Feb 27, 2015 Jefferson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Puck of Pook's Hill (1906) is Rudyard Kipling's paean to England and history and youth, as Puck, "the oldest Old Thing in England," introduces to two children, siblings Dan and Una, various figures and events from throughout three thousand or so years of British history.

The first of the ten tales in the book features Puck's account of the advent, worship, and end of pagan Gods in Britain, focusing on one in particular, Weland, Smith of the Nordic Gods. In the second through fourth stories, the
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Courtney Johnston
Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies are two collections of children’s stories, based on English folktale and history. As stories, none are nearly as funny or moving as anything from the Jungle Book or the Just So Stories, but on re-reading them I was really struck by how the collections are structured.

There is the basic structure - two collections of about a dozen stories each, in which each story is bookended by two connecting poems. But then there’s a series of layers across the storie
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dragonhelmuk
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Helen
I have enjoyed this book since I was a teenager and read it again every once in a while. The empire support is phrased in such away that you can easily accept it, but there is a strong racist element underneath. If I were reading it with children I would be very careful and annotate it orally.
This time I have been reading a book about Roman remains in Britain so I wanted to read the chapters about Parnesius, a Roman British centurion in the Thirtieth Legion serving on Hadrian's Wall. Kipling's
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Jason
Jul 15, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, kids-ya, classics
I've read a lot of Kipling's work lately, and the depth, complexity, and artistry of his writing has left me amazed and grateful that I made the decision to pick up so many of his stories.

Puck of Pook's Hill falls is one of those stories. Essentially Puck of myth and legend visits two children, siblings, and gifts them with tales of Britain's history from the days of the Roman Empire to medieval times to the 1400s using the ghosts of individuals who might be historical (I'm not British history
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Mary
Jan 18, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As one might expect from Rudyard Kipling, the language in this book is clean and energetic. The basic story is surprisingly complex, though it seems simple on the surface. One midsummer's day, two children reenacting a scene from Shakespeare conjure up a being from the deep past - Puck, or Robin Goodfellow himself. Over the coming months, Puck shows Dan and Una scenes from the history of their house, beginning with the forging of a sword by the mythical Wayland Smith, and ending with the loss of ...more
Adam
Puck is a fairy, but this is only nominally a fairy story. He exists in the story only as a framing device, summoning warriors from across Britain's noble history to tell exciting tales of valor and deceit to a pair of dumbshit aristocratic children. It's a concept so similar to the premise of Holdstock's Mythago Wood that I at least wouldn't be surprised to learn he was inspired by it. But unlike Holdstock's culture heroes, Kipling's figures come from some mellowing afterlife campfire. They all ...more
Griselda Heppel
This is a charming runthrough of English history, sparked by the conceit of two children, Dan and Una, managing (by mistake) to conjure Puck up one midsummer night's eve. The playful fairy proceeds to entertain them by bringing to life a range of characters: Weland the legendary smith to the gods; Sir Richard Dalyngridge, a Norman knight from William the Conqueror's army; Parnesius, a centurion guarding Hadrian's Wall; and several more. The children are enthralled by this magical way of learning ...more
Rebecca
When three children perform Midsummer Night's Dream three times, they accidentally open up the fairy mound behind them, but the only fairy left is Puck, the first fairy ever to come to England. He introduces them to several people from history, who relate their tales. There's Wayland, who came as a god and left as a blacksmith. There's Sir Richard, a Norman who conquered a Saxon estate with kindness and hard work, then he and a friend were captured by Vikings and taken on an amazing adventure to ...more
Lauren
Jul 10, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave this a 5 because I know my younger self would have - the one who loved Narnia and anything about time travel, fairies, England, and/or Midsummer Night's Dream.

But I did love this. It was such a wonderful surprise. Two very literate open-minded children meet Puck who introduces them to three notable individuals from England's past - a Norman who came over with William the Conqueror, a British/Roman centurion from the Isle of Wight and a Spanish Jew who is integral in the shaping of the Mag
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Megan
May 28, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2011
I hadn't read any Kipling in a loooong time, but I got turned onto Peter Bellamy's text settings of his poems, and I remembered that he also wrote books. Puck of Pook's Hill reminded me a little of Watership Down, successful with the kind of pastoral charm that usually gives me a toothache, but it was also very dated. The conceit is that a brother and sister encounter Puck one Midsummer Day, and he brings them people from history to tell them the stories of their little corner of England. I like ...more
Chrisiant
Feb 27, 2009 Chrisiant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Yay Kipling. This is actually the first Kipling besides Just So Stories that I've read through. I have more to say about the format in which I read it (DailyLit) than the actually book, which was quirky and interesting. I'm already familiar with many of Kipling's poems that have been set to music, so it was nice to run across them in context. I'm generally in favor of narratives that are broken up by bits of song and verse (a la Tolkien and others).
I grew quite fond of Sir Richard and Sir Hugh,
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Deborah Ideiosepius  omnivorous reader
This was a fascinating and odd book to read.

Kipling's writing in many ways is so fresh and clear that it comes across as contemporary but in small ways it has dated badly so as to make it feel like you are reading something very old in terms of attitudes and world views.

I don't think I could ever recommend this to a child to read! The intense racism, antisemitism and smugness I would consider very much as adult themes. Also, Kiplings view of history, probably an educated view for his day, may no
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Leonie
Oct 09, 2016 Leonie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
A couple of children accidentally raise Puck and are told some stories about the history of England both by Puck and by characters from the stories. Like the other Kipling I've read (Stalky and Co and Kim) this had a certain Kipling something which was more than the sum of its parts, which don't really cohere. The flavour of the language and also the ways in which characters win through -- Kipling admires cunning and manipulation of appearances so that one doesn't get quite the flavour of derrin ...more
James Duyck
Jun 14, 2015 James Duyck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-physical
This book is pretty different, because it's essentially historical fiction relative to the time it was written, which was one hundred and ten years ago. It's interesting to see how an English person living at the turn of the century saw the English people's relationship with their country's history. I don't think this is the sort of book someone would write today - the past is not exactly glorified, but I think past society is painted as less morally murky than we see it today. There's also some ...more
Tim Corke
As a collection of short stories go, Kipling's Pook tales are beautifully vivid and evocative but challenging at the same time. They provide mystical and historical adventures that are both relevant but ahead of their time in that they deliver alternative ways of learning.

The tales transport Dan and Una via their rendezvous with the magical Puck through the ages but related back to their part of the country and how life used to be.

Written for children but with a darkness and intelligence that w
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Christina
I've loved Kipling's other books--"Kim", "The Jungle Books" and "Just So Stories." But I just couldn't get into this one. Part of it was a lack of familiarity with the British history that would have been familiar to the children for whom it was written. But it was also due to the narrative filters between the reader and the action. Rather than reading a story as it happens, this is a collection of tales that we hear through two children who are hearing someone recount them--stories that are thi ...more
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Joseph Rudyard Kipling was a journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist.

Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888). His poems include Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), The Gods of the Copybook Headings (1919), The White Man's Burden (1899), and If— (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in
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More about Rudyard Kipling...

Other Books in the Series

Puck (3 books)
  • Rewards and Fairies
  • Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies

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“Cites and Thrones and Powers
Stand in Time's eye
Which daily die;
But, as new buds put forth
To glad new men,
Out of the spend and unconsidered Earth,
The cities will rise again”
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