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The King of the Golden River

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  453 ratings  ·  40 reviews
A fairy tale of what happened to two men who tried to get rich in evil ways and of how the fortune they sought came to their younger brother, whose kind and loving heart prompted him to right action. Widely regarded as a masterpiece of 19th century stories for children. Includes four black and white illustrations by Maria L. Kirk. Suitable for ages 8 and up.
Paperback, 60 pages
Published March 19th 2007 by Yesterday's Classics (first published 1851)
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Community Reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Dec 13, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, childrens
Gluck's Ten Life Enriching Lessons for Grownups:

I normally read children's books during Christmastime. Not only to catch up with my Reading Challenge (I am behind by 9 books as of this writing), but also, most of children's books have life lessons that can be good reminders for the coming year. New Year always means new beginning, new hope... As to why I am listing the ten lessons instead of my usual reviews, let me give you the reason. Do you remember when you were still in school and after rea
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Althea Ann
*JOHN RUSKIN, 'The King of the Golden River'

This is the only work of fiction that the prolific and multi-talented Ruskin wrote. However, it manages to encapsulate a great many of the ideals that we think of today, when we think of Ruskin. It has the emphasis on 'Christian' mercy and charity, generosity over greed, and, to an almost distracting degree, the love of the beauties of nature. Indeed, the main 'message' of the tale is that natural bounty is what should be valued more than gold.

The piec
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GoldGato
Words by John Ruskin + art by Iassen Ghiuselev = treasure. This book is one reason why I collect the printed word and why my shelves strain with the weight of beautiful children's volumes. Ruskin wrote this fairytale/fable for his future wife (she was 12 when he put words to paper) as an example of how nature reacts to the actions taken by humans.

Gluck lives with his greedy older brothers in the Treasure Valley, which is sheltered from storms and drought so the harvests are bountiful, making the
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Suvi
Combining fairy tale and etiological myth, this story of the Victorian art critic Ruskin has familiar motifs found in fairy tales (the number three, bad siblings vs. good siblings, a quest, goodness is rewarded and selfishness is punished), and it apparently worked for contemporary audience, because the story sold out three editions and became an instant classic.

I didn't find the story particularly interesting. Under all the flowery prose the plot is quite simple, and reminds me of fairy tales o
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Chris
“The King of the Golden River was written in 1841, at the request of a very young lady, and solely for her amusement, without any idea of publication…” The very young lady was the twelve-year-old Effie Gray and the writer was John Ruskin, ten years her senior. Ruskin was eventually to marry Effie in 1848 but the marriage foundered and was annulled, Effie then marrying the artist John Everett Millais. All that turbulence was in the future, however, and Effie must have been delighted with her pres ...more
Stephen
Of the dozen or more editions on goodreads, I chose this very old one to review, thinking it is most likely to have the illustrations I remember from the version my father read me in the 1950s. That book had belonged to him when he was a child. They are black and white line drawings, I don't think by Rackham. They gave a feeling more like Dore. The text of all editions will be the same; there is no need to search high and low for a certain illustrator.

A moralistic yet engaging fairy tale about
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Jasmine
A fairy tale that reminds me of Muffaro's Beautiful Daughters - a Cinderella Tale. Gluck, the good younger brother, lives with his two abusive older brothers who are selfish with their wealth. When the South East Wind comes to visit, the brothers are punished for their selfish hearts. An opportunity to escape poverty is provided when Gluck meets the King of the Golden River. Each brother's character is tested in turn as he makes his way up the mountain to throw holy water into the river. Goodnes ...more
Perry Whitford
A classic Victorian fairy tale from one the eras most respected artists and educators.

Set in Styria (south-east Austria) and subtitled 'The Black Brothers', the story features three brothers, the elder two being cruel and uncharitable, the youngest being kind and giving.

The elder brothers, Hans and Schwartz, lose the family farm in the Treasure Valley through their meanness, only for the young Gluck to win it back, with the help of a dwarf king trapped in a golden mug.

I have no idea if this is
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Kelly Spillane
I read this book for Uni, its very quick and easy to read (I finished it in one sitting).

Its a classic victorian children's fairy tale, and although enjoyable was very predictable to me. I think I would have enjoyed it more if i'd read this book at a younger age. I liked the teachings and morals that were clearly interwoven throughout the tale.
Christian
I read the edition illustrated by Charles Stewart and published by Franklin Watts. It's an enjoyable example of a Victorian-authored Grimm-style fairy tale, and the illustrations are excellent. I have little else to add, since it's very much a genre work.
Brian James
Like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this is another Victorian children's book written solely for the entertainment for one child, 12 year old Effie Gray. The connection between the two books is furthered by a later friendship between Lewis Carroll and eventually the Liddles (Alice's family). Being a fan of Lewis Carroll's, and Victorian children's literature in general, this book was naturally a must read. It's a slim novella, easily read in one sitting, that adheres to a classical morality f ...more
Darrin
Very simple story of the power of greed vs. generosity and what it means to live a life of meekness and to be without guile. Also a wonderful dichotomy between the different ideas of wealth.
Katrina Zartman
I bought this book from a library book sale, because of the artwork. The story is alright. Some of the characters are interesting to imagine. A child might not understand all of the vocabulary.
Alejandro Salgado B.
Beautiful story. With all the ingredients , it lasts while beautiful and thoughtful .
Haythem Bastawy
Directly borrowed from the Arabian Nights and disguised in a Brothers Grimm frame.
Jessica
Read this to my girls (13, 11, 6, 4 and 2) for school. We enjoyed the lessons taught and it was easy enough language for my kids to follow along without too many requests for explanations of what certain passages meant.
Alexis
Did I read this book just because of the juxtaposition of its being a children's book by John Ruskin who, you know, had his marriage annulled for certain reasons? Yes. The book was written for his future "wife" when she was twelve, btw. Oh also she later married John Everett Millais and they had like twelve children or something (so there, Ruskin) and Millais did kind of a well-known portrait of Ruskin. Fun.

(My edition was actually published in 1946 and the illustrations are by Fritz Kredel.)
Amber
The title of the first chapter is "How the Agricultural System of the Black Brothers was Interfered with by the Southwest Wind, Esquire" and so I wasn't sure how well this title would be received by Ashlyn. She loved it! She couldn't put it down and kept wanting to read more and more. I truly expected groaning or complaining and instead she said it was and awesome book. I am going to have to read it now just so I can understand why she enjoyed it so much.
Scott Harris
This book was a delightful treat, being a children's fable that I had never heard before. While longer than the typical fairy tale standard, it is an easy story to follow and enjoy. It is a wonderful adventure, with strong characterizations, a clear hero, a foreshadowed outcome and a strong morality play. I found it a delightful reflection of great children's writing.
BCS
Hardcover edition. Illustrated by Frances Brundage. Spined was taped at some point with blue tape. Edition is intact. Front color cover illustration is very nice. I cannot find references to these illustrations online.

MCMXXVI
Saalfield Publishing Company - Akron, Ohio - New York, N.Y.

A children's book. This is a strange tale about dwarves messing with kids minds.
Teal
Reading this through dailylit.com and find it very interesting. Definitely a victorian morality tale. I really wish I had the illustrations

good but pretty standard. Didn't have too much that was new or interesting, but I guess this would be typical since it was written over 100 years ago and many people were probably inspired by it.
Matt Kelland
A sweet little fairy tale. It's worth remembering that this was written for a twelve year old - it's hard to imagine many kids that age these days being able to cope with the complexity and richness of language and vocabulary that Ruskin uses. But still, a beautiful read for older kids (and adults) who enjoy children's stories.
Adam
The first 2 chapters seem promising, but after that it's fairly standard, uninspired stuff. Ruskin never intended this for publication, and it's easy to see why. The greater mystery: why has it gone through so many editions? I'm guessing that--Ruskin being who he was--gobs of illustrators have wanted to pay homage to him.
Jesse
This was a great little fairy tale. Classic themes of showing mercy and selfishness.

I read this book because it was recomended on a list of books that MUST be read. In this light, I would say that it is lacking. Only because it is very short and very predictable. But a charming read, none-the-less.
Katie
This was a great, short chapter book to read aloud to my 6 and 8 year olds. It taught a great lesson and was extremely well written. He painted pictures with words. My kids loved it and it stimulated some great discussion about moral truths.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Saw this at the library, next to something else I was looking for, and figured why not. However, it's fairly standard (non-exciting, in this case) fairy tale/retelling stuff.

Also, if Wikipedia is to be believed, John Ruskin was weird.
Miriam
Feb 08, 2009 Miriam rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults who read picture books
Shelves: victorian, picture
Ruskin is much better known for his art criticism and theories of aesthetics, so it is interesting to see him trying to be lighter. However, this Victorian children's book will probably be too wordy and didactic for most contemporary kids.
Shihab Perumpulliyil
Its a fantasy novel for children but i'm being young however i really enjoyed this book because it has curiosity to read till the end, it's very fast narration easy to digest everything,
Brian
My grandma told this story to me several times. I loved it then. I read this so I could tell the story to my daughter and my daughter loves it now. It gets her excited to share.
Hannah
This book was a different change of pace, I think it was worth reading. This book is a mix between Aesop fables and a native American legend.
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1606
John Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, London, the only child of Margaret and John James Ruskin. His father, a prosperous, self-made man who was a founding partner of Pedro Domecq sherries, collected art and encouraged his son's literary activities, while his mother, a devout evangelical Protestant, early dedicated her son to the service of God and devoutly wished him to beco ...more
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