The Princess and the Goblin is a cute, cute story. What brought me to it is the movie (VHS, oh ya!) that I love; if anyone has the desire to borrow it, I can get it to you. It's the story of a group of vindictive goblins who try to capture the adorable 10 year old princess and take her to their underground lair, so that one day their prince, Prince Hairlip, can marry her. Therefore, she has to be within the castle after dusk, but one day she is out to late. Thankfully, a boy named Curdie saves her. She also meets her great-great grandmother, who lives in a tall tower of her castle, but whom only the family (Princess Irene (eye-REE-nee) and her King Papa) know about. The whole story is about the progression of the goblin's plot to capture the princess.
The book and the movie vary only slightly, though a little more at the end.
However, the way that the book is written, it seemed almost alligorical. That could be because I'm in an alligorical mood from reading Pilgrim's Progress, but the belief that the Princess and Curdie have in the Great-great Grandmother Irene is similar to the belief that Christians have in God. Irene struggles with whether she actually saw her GGGrandmother or not, and is then frustrated with Curdie's stubbornness when he doesn't believe. Then she comes to the conclusion that he has to decide for himself, and she can't be mad at him, since she went through the same struggle.
I felt this was a little far fetched, but I researched. George MacDonald was a minister, and his works greatly influenced C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and he said, "I write not for children, but for the child-like, whether they be five, or fifty, or seventy-five." Therefore, he probably did have some deeper meaning to his work, and I'm not being completely far fetched.
Anyway, I really recommend this book. For those of you on summer break, it's a lighthearted book, and you don't have to read a lot into it (though I find it really fun to figure out what authors are trying to get across). It's on Librivox.org, if you are interested.