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The Phoenix and the Carpet

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It's startling enough to have a phoenix hatch in your house, but even more startling when it talks and reveals that you have a magic carpet on the floor. The vain and ancient bird accompanies the children on a series of adventures through time and space. This book is a sequel to Five Children and It.


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It's startling enough to have a phoenix hatch in your house, but even more startling when it talks and reveals that you have a magic carpet on the floor. The vain and ancient bird accompanies the children on a series of adventures through time and space. This book is a sequel to Five Children and It.

30 review for The Phoenix and the Carpet

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    That evening, Mother read to them from a book called The Phoenix and the Carpet, which she had had since she was a little girl. Like all the best children's books, it was written to be read aloud; you immediately knew that Mrs. Nesbit had read it aloud to her own children, and every now and then she had put in a little joke for her husband, who was pretending to do something important but was really listening too. Mrs. Nesbit had a wonderful imagination, and she also had a strong moral sense; so That evening, Mother read to them from a book called The Phoenix and the Carpet, which she had had since she was a little girl. Like all the best children's books, it was written to be read aloud; you immediately knew that Mrs. Nesbit had read it aloud to her own children, and every now and then she had put in a little joke for her husband, who was pretending to do something important but was really listening too. Mrs. Nesbit had a wonderful imagination, and she also had a strong moral sense; so strong, in fact, that she knew, without even stopping to consider the question, that it is most inconsiderate to put improving thoughts into children's books without first making them amusing. Both the children and their parents thought she wrote very well. The children just said that her books weren't boring, like most of the old books that Mother sometimes tried to read to them, while the grown-ups explained it in a more complicated way, using words like Ironic Detachment and Economy of Phrase. It is very rare to find all these excellent qualities combined in one person: almost as rare as to find a Phoenix's egg hidden inside a magic carpet, but not quite.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maxine (Booklover Catlady)

    I loved this book and the series as a young girl. This book transported me with its imaginative plot and made me want to be one of the lucky children on a magic carpet! It's one of those timeless children's books that I hope children may still read today. Up there with books like The Famous Five by Enid Blyton and the Trixie Belden series. One of my all time favourite books as an avid younger reader. 5 magical stars for entertainment, great plot, magic and characters.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tahera

    Did not like this book as much as 'Five Children and It'. I felt the children had better adventures in the first book with the Psammead than they did with the Phoenix or the carpet....I guess they made better wishes in the first book than the second.

  4. 4 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    This is the second book in the Five Children series, but actually the last one I read, after the Amulet and then Five Children and It. I think this was the strongest book in the series with the most interesting plotline, and I recommend the whole series as a nice bit if early 20th-century sci fi/fantasy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anna Kļaviņa

    Sadly, classism, sexism and racism did dampen my enjoyment of this otherwise fantastic children's book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    "I daresay they're not real cats," said Jane madly, "Perhaps they're only dream-cats." "I'll dream-cat you, my lady," was the brief response of the force." In regards to this book, I'm going to write something so groundbreaking that I would be willing to bet lots and lots of metaphorical pounds on the fact that no one has ever said, written or even thought about this idea when they closed the pages of Ms Nesbit's wonderful book. (view spoiler)[I wish I had a Phoenix and a magic carpet (hide spoile "I daresay they're not real cats," said Jane madly, "Perhaps they're only dream-cats." "I'll dream-cat you, my lady," was the brief response of the force." In regards to this book, I'm going to write something so groundbreaking that I would be willing to bet lots and lots of metaphorical pounds on the fact that no one has ever said, written or even thought about this idea when they closed the pages of Ms Nesbit's wonderful book. (view spoiler)[I wish I had a Phoenix and a magic carpet (hide spoiler)] I'm going to change the world with this 'ere noggin.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Delightful Edwardian flying carpet larks. Second book in the 'Five Children and It' trilogy. The endearing 'n' pompous Phoenix is one of my favourite characters in literature. *wipes tear*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    Delightful shenanigans with four children who are left home alone suspiciously often. I had considered only giving it four stars, due to frequent references to savages and naive notions about burglars. Not to mention comments that it's unmanly for boys to cry. But I just can't help myself. It's just too wonderful for four stars. Many thanks go to the Librivox narrator, Helen Taylor, for her beautiful reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    Another lovely magical family friendly book in the Five Children series. Full of more adventures, magic, wishes and magical creatures. Plus Five Children getting up to more antics and seemingly forever hungry.

  10. 4 out of 5

    C Hellisen

    While I really enjoyed the writing style of the book, especially the arch little comments on human behaviour, it was hard for me to get past the casual "oh those poor childish savages" racism inherent in books from this era. I think when the Spawn read this, we'll have a little talk about the racism in books by writers like Nesbit, Blyton and Kipling, and what it says about humanity (and hopefully how we've moved on, at least a little.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Fisher

    I love the Phoenix, he is as vain as Hercule Poirot, but his self-esteem fades as the stories progress. I love his pedantic, precise voice, and the way he washes up the teacups. I agree with another reviewer that the cat episode is almost too painful to be entertaining. Another thing that strikes me when reading as an adult - how affectionate the family is. They are always hugging each other (though the boys think this is a bit soppy), they have warm and loving parents and an adorable baby broth I love the Phoenix, he is as vain as Hercule Poirot, but his self-esteem fades as the stories progress. I love his pedantic, precise voice, and the way he washes up the teacups. I agree with another reviewer that the cat episode is almost too painful to be entertaining. Another thing that strikes me when reading as an adult - how affectionate the family is. They are always hugging each other (though the boys think this is a bit soppy), they have warm and loving parents and an adorable baby brother. As a child reader, I think I just wanted to get on with the adventures. (And we think the Victorians were cold and distant with their children. Perhaps that was us!) The family are middle-class but not well off; their house is shabby, and they live in Camden Town, rather too near Kentish Town. And yes, we weren't so politically correct in 1904. There are working class characters: the policeman is rather frightening, the burglar is appealing (while claiming it's his first job, honest), but the servants are not sympathetically portrayed. The cook does mellow under the tropical sun, however. I'm trying to protect Nesbit (who was quite a leftie and a "new woman"), but I'm afraid she fell into the "servant joke" common in her day. For more background, read Alison Light's Mrs Woolf and the Servants and Virginia Nicholson's Among the Bohemians. At least the children knew how to lay a fire and wash up.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    I heard (in a book about little-known classics) that this was a great Christmastime read-aloud. It did take place around Christmastime, but it's not about Christmas at all. Our family loved the first book of this trilogy (Five Children and It), and the Phoenix and the Carpet was almost as good. Nine-year-old Josh loved this book and can't wait to read the third book together. I enjoy E. Nesbit's writing; she is so clever and entertaining and we laughed through this book. Here's a part we enjoyed I heard (in a book about little-known classics) that this was a great Christmastime read-aloud. It did take place around Christmastime, but it's not about Christmas at all. Our family loved the first book of this trilogy (Five Children and It), and the Phoenix and the Carpet was almost as good. Nine-year-old Josh loved this book and can't wait to read the third book together. I enjoy E. Nesbit's writing; she is so clever and entertaining and we laughed through this book. Here's a part we enjoyed (describing when Robert was hiding the bird in his coat): "Robert pretended that he was too cold to take off his greatcoat, and so sat sweltering through what would otherwise have been a thrilling meal. He felt that he was a blot on the smart beauty of the family, and he hoped the Phoenix knew what he was suffering for its sake. Of course, we are all pleased to suffer for the sake of others, but we like them to know it -- unless we were the very best and noblest kind of people, and Robert was just ordinary." (p. 209)

  13. 5 out of 5

    blake

    I'm glad I went back after reading The Story of the Amulet to the other two books in the series, even though I think "Amulet" is the best of the three. I think they get better as they go on, with the first feeling more like a series of mini-adventures and the third having more of a connected plot. This one is in the middle: The children have both a phoenix (The Phoenix, more correctly) and a wishing carpet that will take them anywhere (or, as they later learn, bring them things from far away). An I'm glad I went back after reading The Story of the Amulet to the other two books in the series, even though I think "Amulet" is the best of the three. I think they get better as they go on, with the first feeling more like a series of mini-adventures and the third having more of a connected plot. This one is in the middle: The children have both a phoenix (The Phoenix, more correctly) and a wishing carpet that will take them anywhere (or, as they later learn, bring them things from far away). And so they do go on a series of adventures which, much like the last book, bring a host of remarkably mundane problems. (English children wishing for riches in the first decade of the 20th century would do well to consider the suspicions of society at large about the source of those riches. I can only imagine it would be even worse today with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.) What sets this above Edith Nesbit - Five Children and It: Psammead #1 in my heart is the Phoenix. Unlike the Psammead, the Phoenix is a friendly character (albeit with a low tolerance for activity) who often genuinely helps the children out. His knack for setting things on fire gives the children a bit of a problem when they realize they can't keep him around, but don't want to hurt his feelings. It was also nice to see Robert, the more hoplitic of the boys, be the one who bonds the most closely with The Phoenix. A great series. Looking forward to reading it to the family.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    The common advice to would-be fiction authors is to “write about what you know”. A phoenix and a flying carpet aren’t of course really within one’s everyday experience, but at heart the events that take place and many of this fantasy’s settings are taken from real life, a fair few of which hark back to Nesbit’s own childhood in the Victorian period. The reminiscences in Long Ago When I Was Young, though only first published as a collection in 1966, were serialised before Nesbit embarked on her ca The common advice to would-be fiction authors is to “write about what you know”. A phoenix and a flying carpet aren’t of course really within one’s everyday experience, but at heart the events that take place and many of this fantasy’s settings are taken from real life, a fair few of which hark back to Nesbit’s own childhood in the Victorian period. The reminiscences in Long Ago When I Was Young, though only first published as a collection in 1966, were serialised before Nesbit embarked on her career as a children’s writer and partly the spur for her successful forays into publishing. A significant number of the incidents in The Phoenix and the Carpet can be directly traced to the memories she presents in Long Ago. A mysterious keep-like stone structure that appears in ‘The Topless Tower’ and ‘Doing Good’ is based on the same building that the young Edith encountered in France, as recounted in the chapter entitled ‘In Auvergne’. ‘Doing Good’ also highlights themes that she had previously visited within ‘In the Dark’ and ‘Mummies at Bordeaux’. And ‘Two Bazaars’ may well be partly based on the bazaar that Edith experiences in ‘Lessons in French’. We will have already met the children of this novel in Five Children and It, where they spend their summer holidays in the country ‘at a white house between a sand pit and a gravel pit’. Then they encountered a sand-fairy, the Psammead; now, in early November, they discover an egg rolled up in a carpet, replacement for a previous one in their Camden Town home ruined by a firework on Bonfire Night. The five children are now mostly four – Cyril (called Squirrel), Robert (rather more prosaically called Bobs), Anthea (Panther) and Jane (Puss). Hilary is the remaining child (the toddler maintains the animal theme by being referred to as The Lamb), though he only appears occasionally and then to unwittingly cause mayhem. (The animal theme continues when the Phoenix hatches, and again later when more creatures make their appearances – Persian cats and, bizarrely, a cow.) The two boys are typically well-mannered and well-meaning but liable to make unwise decisions. Anthea may most resemble the author – tomboyish but creative – while Jane, the youngest of the four, is more ‘girly’ and, well, wimpish, prone to burst into tears at the merest hint of danger. (Mind you, danger, real or potential, does always seem to be round the corner.) But, as Nesbit says, even though ‘boys never cry, of course,’ Cyril and Robert are also susceptible to emotion, making faces ‘in their efforts to behave in a really manly way’. The Phoenix itself is a marvellous creation. Vain and garrulous, he tells the children about the magic Persian carpet which grants three wishes a day. They use it to transport themselves to various more or less exotic places, from France to the Middle East, from the City of London to a desert island. In keeping with their original serial publication, the chapters at first appear episodic and unrelated to each other, merely recounting separate adventures where the siblings get themselves into scrapes. But as the story progresses Nesbit starts to weave in themes from earlier chapters – the cook, the ‘topless tower’, the absent-minded curate – and naturally the overall motif of fire runs brightly through the narrative pattern, with dire consequences for the flammable flying carpet. From that first Guy Fawkes Night through the rebirth of the Phoenix from the flames, the setting alight of an increasingly frayed carpet and a visit to the Phoenix Fire Office in Lombard Street we arrive at the potentially catastrophic conflagration at the Garrick Theatre. Ironically, the last takes place at a dramatisation of Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies (a genuine production from 1902), and water becomes another underlying theme, as with the visit to the tropical island to alleviate the Lamb’s whooping cough or the booby-trap with a pail of water balanced on a door. The Phoenix and the Carpet is more than just a re-run of Five Children and It with the bird and the rug substituting for the Psammead and a succession of escapades. The children become even more individual in character, especially Robert with his unexpected affection for the Phoenix; and the Phoenix itself is a distinct personage, different from the grumpy Psammead with its unintentionally entertaining if increasingly tedious chatter, inflated sense of self-importance and embarrassing avuncularism. Adults too have their part to play, but mostly they are bemused by the magic played out before their eyes, ascribing the sights they experience and the things they hear to a curious daydream. Which is, as is the way of metafiction, exactly what it is. Above all, what I most liked is Nesbit’s humour, evident from her asides, her descriptions of the children’s thought-processes and her delight in their convoluted attempts to Do The Right Thing. Modern sensibilities may be upset by some aspects – such as her portrayal of native peoples or Jews – though, this being Nesbit, her teasing tongue-in-cheek tone and her Fabian socialist sympathies suggest she mightn’t necessarily share those common prejudices. http://wp.me/s2oNj1-phoenix

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tocotin

    Oh my! What's going on? It was one of my childhood favorites! OMG. These children are just beyond obnoxious. Their family is described as of moderate means, but they act like completely spoiled brats. "'Is that being kind to servants and animals, like the clergyman said?' asked Jane." They don't care for anyone else except themselves and their family. All the others are tools, or plainly invisible to them anyway. There is one nasty scene when they get home by mistake, when only the servants are su Oh my! What's going on? It was one of my childhood favorites! OMG. These children are just beyond obnoxious. Their family is described as of moderate means, but they act like completely spoiled brats. "'Is that being kind to servants and animals, like the clergyman said?' asked Jane." They don't care for anyone else except themselves and their family. All the others are tools, or plainly invisible to them anyway. There is one nasty scene when they get home by mistake, when only the servants are supposed to be there, and discover the servants are actually away, enjoying their free time. The brats CHILDREN are completely appalled that the servants haven't been chained next to the family's precious pots and pans. With the help of the magical Phoenix or maybe the carpet, I don't remember, they succeed in blackmailing placating the servants: "'There's nothing like firmness,' Cyril went on, when the breakfast things were cleared away and the children were alone in the nursery. 'People are always talking of difficulties with servants. It's quite simple, when you know the way. We can do when we like now and they won't peach. I think we've broken THEIR proud spirit. Let's go somewhere by carpet.'" Ahaha. Well I never. You are nothing without your magical gizmos, CHILDREN. Your story ends when they leave you. Buh-bye.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Oh how I would love to enjoy this book as much as I did as a child! This is a really fun little book about a group of children who come across a phoenix egg and a magic carpet. They go on all sorts of grand adventures and get into no end of trouble. There are moral lessons and plenty of funny moments and the writing is made specifically to be read aloud, but... I'm not comfortable reading this book to my children without prefacing it with "this book is old and says a lot which isn't nice nor accur Oh how I would love to enjoy this book as much as I did as a child! This is a really fun little book about a group of children who come across a phoenix egg and a magic carpet. They go on all sorts of grand adventures and get into no end of trouble. There are moral lessons and plenty of funny moments and the writing is made specifically to be read aloud, but... I'm not comfortable reading this book to my children without prefacing it with "this book is old and says a lot which isn't nice nor accurate." Fortunately, even if I don't, my daughter is likely to point out many of them to me. This book was written in 1904 and shows vast amounts of sexism, classism, and racism. There are a lot of little phrases which said today would be offensive. The representation of the non-white characters are generally pretty negative, especially with the natives who somehow become ruled by the white cook who doesn't speak their language and believes it's all a dream. The servants are all crooks and liars. The factory worker children are all filled with hate and part of gangs. The children themselves are greedy and lazy and selfish and never really learn their lesson. I enjoyed rereading it and will probably read it to my daughter at some point, but I will preface it and will use the questionable sections as ways to talk about the problems they show.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Don't read this expecting fantasy. It is more like farce or a comic, but Nesbit never fails to invent human characters and that is primarily what I really get out of her books. Even when including such an exotic animal as the Phoenix, she imbues him with a humorous sense of dignity and ceremony that causes no end of trouble for the children. Every once in a while Nesbit writes a gem. One of my favorite insightful and thought-provoking ones was: "He felt that he was a blot on the smart beauty of t Don't read this expecting fantasy. It is more like farce or a comic, but Nesbit never fails to invent human characters and that is primarily what I really get out of her books. Even when including such an exotic animal as the Phoenix, she imbues him with a humorous sense of dignity and ceremony that causes no end of trouble for the children. Every once in a while Nesbit writes a gem. One of my favorite insightful and thought-provoking ones was: "He felt that he was a blot on the smart beauty of the family, and he hoped the Phoenix knew what he was suffering for its sake. Of course, we are all pleased to suffer for the sake of others, but we like them to know it unless we are the very best and noblest kind of people, and Robert was just ordinary." The stories are fairly self-contained, but also very funny. The ending to the Two Bazaars was nothing short of brilliant and The Temple is buckets of laughter. The Mews From Persia is a bit too painful and realistic to be funny at times. A lot of this book is quite memorable and the clergymen come off quite nice. Oh, and 'Whirling Worlds' is the game where you swing the baby round and round by his hands. Good thing to know.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kacey

    Whilst I've put this in my Childhood Favourites folder, I never actually read it as a child, but I've begun a project to read all the books in my childhood bookshelves... It is important to note, this book has not aged well. When reading to a modem child, you would need to prepare a discussion afterwards about why we don't call people of colour 'savages', or talk to servants as though they were subhuman anymore. That said, it is an innovative adventure story of its time, and would be an interesti Whilst I've put this in my Childhood Favourites folder, I never actually read it as a child, but I've begun a project to read all the books in my childhood bookshelves... It is important to note, this book has not aged well. When reading to a modem child, you would need to prepare a discussion afterwards about why we don't call people of colour 'savages', or talk to servants as though they were subhuman anymore. That said, it is an innovative adventure story of its time, and would be an interesting one to read with an older child, if only to talk about how children's books have changed over the last hundred-odd years!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    I don't like this one as much as Five Children and It, probably because where the Psammead is only grouchy and annoying, the Phoenix is self-centered to the point of getting the kids into trouble. The theme is the same as the first book: the children get three wishes a day from the magic carpet, and as usual their wishes go awry. My favorite of their adventures is where they're flying along, see a tower whose top is the same size as the carpet, and set down only to find that there's no actual ro I don't like this one as much as Five Children and It, probably because where the Psammead is only grouchy and annoying, the Phoenix is self-centered to the point of getting the kids into trouble. The theme is the same as the first book: the children get three wishes a day from the magic carpet, and as usual their wishes go awry. My favorite of their adventures is where they're flying along, see a tower whose top is the same size as the carpet, and set down only to find that there's no actual roof and they're descending into what might as well be an elevator shaft. Unlike their other stupid choices, that seems like a natural and embarrassing mistake to make.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wreade1872

    So this is a direct sequel to 'Five Children and It', so if you havn't read that, this might seem a bit odd in places. I think i rated both books the same, this is superior in places but has a harder time trying to find reasons for things to happen and struggles to avoid repeating itself. There's some jokes which might appeal to adults rather than kids in places so not a terrible thing if your reading it to someone. Overall not a huge fan but entertaining enough. I listened to some of it on a ver So this is a direct sequel to 'Five Children and It', so if you havn't read that, this might seem a bit odd in places. I think i rated both books the same, this is superior in places but has a harder time trying to find reasons for things to happen and struggles to avoid repeating itself. There's some jokes which might appeal to adults rather than kids in places so not a terrible thing if your reading it to someone. Overall not a huge fan but entertaining enough. I listened to some of it on a very good Libravox recording by a Helen Taylor.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Her dry wit and observational humour makes these books very readable as an adult - much more like Richmal Crompton than Enid Blyton. Despite being written over a century ago this series is still so fresh and funny. Her warts-and-all portrayal of children is a lot more genuine than some other classics of the era.

  22. 4 out of 5

    CLM

    Perhaps my favorite of this trilogy - I like the magic carpet, which becomes worn at the edges as it transports the children, and the melancholy Phoenix. But I never understood how Anthea could rhyme with Panther!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate Forsyth

    Another old childhood favourite, filled with humour, adventure & magic. My favourite line: ‘Every eye was a-goggle; every mouth a-gape.’ Another old childhood favourite, filled with humour, adventure & magic. My favourite line: ‘Every eye was a-goggle; every mouth a-gape.’

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennieowen

    Listened on audible with the kids. Good fun for us all!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Breithaupt-Muenzer

    Nesbit, Edith. The Phoenix and the Carpet. (1904) Target Audience: 5-12. This children's fantasy novel surprised me with its imaginative, magical adventures. That is because of my own ignorance of Edith Nesbit's contributions to children's literature. I really enjoyed her narrative style and found myself laughing out loud at her wit and British phraseology. It's also noticed and recognized that this book comes from an era of stereotypes, racism and assumptions that might not be as well received Nesbit, Edith. The Phoenix and the Carpet. (1904) Target Audience: 5-12. This children's fantasy novel surprised me with its imaginative, magical adventures. That is because of my own ignorance of Edith Nesbit's contributions to children's literature. I really enjoyed her narrative style and found myself laughing out loud at her wit and British phraseology. It's also noticed and recognized that this book comes from an era of stereotypes, racism and assumptions that might not be as well received today. The references to savages on an island, the hired help being "less than" other people, and boys shouldn't show their emotions were the main criticisms. I write that and think of my own stereotyping of the British being stiff, cold, reserved, bland, and unadventurous. That thinking is now out the window! The story begins with four of the five children of a British family arguing over fireworks because they are envious of the fireworks their neighbors have bought. They foolishly convince themselves that it might be a good idea to sample a few fireworks...inside the house! Thank goodness the baby of the family was not with them. The sampling begins and becomes dangerous when a column of fire bursts, leaving a couple of the children browless. They all gathered the corners of the carpet and threw it on top of the fire which quickly cut the column down, leaving a room filled with smoke. Their mother didn't need Sherlock Holme's help to figure out this one. The carpet is ruined and mother shops the next day for a replacement. Little does she know the adventures, or shall I say, misadventures this carpet will bring. The children discover an egg in the new carpet as it is rolled out in the nursery. Sincerely by accident they hatch the egg and a bright golden Phoenix is revealed. The Phoenix wastes no time in letting them know how magnificent he is and that the carpet they are standing on is quite special as it is a magic carpet. The children seem fascinated by what he has to say, but unamazed that this bird is actually talking. Anthea, the oldest daughter, states, "I think we are the sort of people things DO happen to." Ah, the foresight. Admittedly, it takes awhile to figure out the birth order of the children as well as their names, and AKA animal names. Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane and Lamb; I never figured out the baby's given name. These children seem like every day children in many ways, but they also are very aware of the world, far away places, and have vivid imaginations. Each of them has their own personality that is presented consistently throughout the book; Robert is a leader, Anthea is conscientious and wants to do the right thing, Jane is skeptical and a bit negative, and Cyril is stalwart. The Phoenix is unquestionably intelligent with quite a sense of humor. While he is able to get the children out of outlandish circumstances, he is also responsible for getting them into these cockeyed situations! Their first excursion with the Phoenix and the carpet was abroad, to France. While floating over rivers, hills, farms, and trees they all agreed they were hungry. They wanted to stop somewhere where no one would bother them, they could have a picnic and a couple of them could leave the carpet to go get some food. The carpet drifted right above a tower, it seemed perfect with a great view. The carpet lowered itself on top, but there was not a to, a roof, so the carpet began sinking lower and lower, Robert had reached out to an owl's nest and fell off the carpet, but was clutching the grooves in the wall. The rest of them plummeted to the bottom of the tower, but landed without being hurt. Jane immediately wished they had not gone out on the carpet and then Cyril wished that the carpet would go back and fetch Robert, which it immediately, but carefully, did. A bit unnerved; however, grateful, Robert suggested they wish to return to home, so in unison, they did. The carpet didn't move at all. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. The Phoenix then reminded them of what he had told them about the magic carpet, but he actually had not told them this important side note, that you only got three wishes a day. The carpet was done for the day. This was the first of many unique predicaments they would find themselves in. The next trip they accidentally made a wish while the cook at home was in the room, so she was swept away by the carpet with them! They ended up on a beautiful island, inhabited by savages, who decided they wanted the cook to become their long awaited Queen. She obliged and made a new life there. Another trip took them to India where they went to a bazaar in hopes of buying gifts for their mother, but in the process, their carpet was left unattended and a bossy woman took it home. Putting more thought into how they made wishes, Anthea wished that this wicked woman would be in an angelic good temper. It worked and they were able to get their carpet back. They decide to start wishing for things that will help other people, such as riches. They do stumble upon some bags of gold that have been hidden from a French lady who is about to lose her home, but they are able to lead her to the gold and she is able to recover her castle. In a situation where they wish for food for 199 cats, the wish is answered with 398 rats being put in the room with the 199 cats. This leads to wishing the rats were gone, but they still need food for the cats so they wish for milk and get a cow. A burglar is forced to milk the cow, but later gets arrested for stealing the cats. There are times the children run out of wishes so the Phoenix steps in, rather, flies away to a Psammead who honors the wish of the Phoenix. Up until the children take the Phoenix to the formal theater with them to see the play, The Water Babies, he believes that a building in town called The Phoenix Fire Insurance Office is a temple built to honor him. The splendid decor of the grandiose theater however, makes him believe that is his temple instead. During the play he decides to fly about spreading little sparks of tinsel seeds that became little flames to create an altar in his own honor. The little flames grew to be big flames and everyone in the whole theater is evacuated. A wish quickly made and the children escape to the safety of their home. Their parents however only know that their children were at the theater and are overwhelmed with worry. When they arrive home the children realize it is time for the Phoenix and the carpet to move on. Their mother had literally been worried sick and stays in bed for two days. During this time the baby brother and the carpet disappear for awhile, long enough for all the children, even Robert, who had bonded with the Phoenix the most, know that the Phoenix must go. Lamb is found and the children are relieved when the Phoenix announces it is time for him to go away and back to sleep for a very long time. He is, as the British say, zonked, exhausted. I realize this book was first published in 1904; therefore, the illustrations could only be in black and white, but it is fitting with the time and they still provide clarity of what people and things looked like. This was a good read, I feel that as a child I missed out on living vicariously through the characters in the book. I just may have to read another of Ms. Nesbit's literary works.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My thoughts on this book are very mixed up indeed. Some parts I loved, some I liked, some I disliked, some I could not stand. I will start with the summary: Four children in England are given a new carpet for their nursery. (Nurseries in England were not just for babies, but a room for all the children to play in and have tea in.) In the folds of this carpet is a perfectly beautiful egg- like a regular egg except with a transparent shell, through which can be seen the fiery golden yolk. It turns out My thoughts on this book are very mixed up indeed. Some parts I loved, some I liked, some I disliked, some I could not stand. I will start with the summary: Four children in England are given a new carpet for their nursery. (Nurseries in England were not just for babies, but a room for all the children to play in and have tea in.) In the folds of this carpet is a perfectly beautiful egg- like a regular egg except with a transparent shell, through which can be seen the fiery golden yolk. It turns out that this egg is the egg of the Phoenix, who hatches out of it when one of the boys by mistake pushes it into the fire. It tells the children that the carpet it was found in is a magical wishing carpet, and it can grant you any wish you ask it too. So the children have many adventures, and go to many exciting places. Sometimes their wishes are mixed up by the carpet, and hilarious happenings ensue. But at the end, the carpet is worn through, the Phoenix must lay its egg and burn itself up, and the story is over. What I could not stand: The Phoenix called the Phoenix Fire Insurance office its temple, and wanted everyone to worship it. A few times the Phoenix wanted incense burned to it. The story ended abruptly with no happy tones. It seemed as if both the Phoenix and the carpet died. A few irreverent reflections on the Bible. What I didn't like: The way of writing was a bit poor. It wasn't clear if the Phoenix was male or female. It should have been female because it laid an egg, but in the beginning it was called 'he' twice, and its attitude was very masculine to me. I know this is a mythical creature, and maybe it was just an 'it', but I do get confused and would rather it was a 'he'. What I liked: Sometimes I really liked the Phoenix. The plotline was very good and sweet without the added things I did not agree with. What I loved: I love the children, all the scenes on the southern island with the cook and the burglar, the adventures on the carpet, the dear carpet's "personality", the parents of the children, and the minister. Thus said, the solid two stars are for the innocent, fun enjoyment found therein.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Standeven

    I loved E Nesbit as a child, and “Five Children and It” was one of my favourite books. “The Phoenix and the Carpet” did not have quite as big an influence on me, and I did not remember much of the story, though I must have read several times before. As with the Psammead, in the Phoenix the author has created a truly wonderful magical being. The Phoenix is polite, helpful and patient, while at the same time being immeasurably vain (but then he has a lot to be vain about). The visit to his London “ I loved E Nesbit as a child, and “Five Children and It” was one of my favourite books. “The Phoenix and the Carpet” did not have quite as big an influence on me, and I did not remember much of the story, though I must have read several times before. As with the Psammead, in the Phoenix the author has created a truly wonderful magical being. The Phoenix is polite, helpful and patient, while at the same time being immeasurably vain (but then he has a lot to be vain about). The visit to his London “temple” is delightful. The other magical being in this book is the carpet. It does not have quite such an overt personality as the Phoenix, which leads to it being undervalued by the children. But it is a sentient being, and deserves more respect. When asked by the children to bring treasures from its homeland, it brings something quite wonderful, yet entirely inappropriate. Is this charming naivete on behalf of the carpet, or maybe a bit of mild revenge against the avaricious and thoughtless children? Later the Phoenix castigates the children: “But the carpet— look at the bare worn patches, look at the great rent at yonder corner. The carpet has been your faithful friend—your willing servant. How have you requited its devoted service?” When I reread “Five Children and It” last month, I was surprised at how little I liked children. When I was a kid, their flaws made no impression on me – the magic of the story was everything. Now as an adult, and into the second book, they have gone from irritating to seriously annoying. Their disdain and disregard for their servants (“There’s nothing like firmness … People are always talking of difficulties with servants. It’s quite simple, when you know the way. … We can do what we like now and they won’t peach. I think we’ve broken their proud spirit”) and members of the ‘lower’ classes has reached new levels, and their sexist and racist attitudes are likewise more pronounced. It has to be remembered that these books were written in the 1920s, where different values pertained, but that does not excuse their selfish thoughtlessness. Still, no story with a sentient magic carpet and a Phoenix could ever be dull, and with E Nesbit’s conversational narration style, you have a classic – not timeless, but a classic nonetheless, and it is great to see such magical book being republished for a new generation. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anna Zehr

    The characters in this book are quirky and fun. You just gotta love an erudite and self-important phoenix. And an unreliable carpet full of both holes and magic. Most fantasy books with magical elements use the magic to set the characters on a journey, exterior as well as interior. Nesbit's plots certainly allow for the interior journey as her characters find clarity in their values of home and family. But an interesting feature of Nesbit's books lies in the ridiculous and uncomfortable situatio The characters in this book are quirky and fun. You just gotta love an erudite and self-important phoenix. And an unreliable carpet full of both holes and magic. Most fantasy books with magical elements use the magic to set the characters on a journey, exterior as well as interior. Nesbit's plots certainly allow for the interior journey as her characters find clarity in their values of home and family. But an interesting feature of Nesbit's books lies in the ridiculous and uncomfortable situations brought on by the magical elements. No grandeur is found in the exterior journeys. There's no majestic and wise lion on the other side of the wardrobe. Instead, resolution comes with a bit of luck and diplomacy, when the fantasy is over and normalcy returns. This book would be worth rereading, both for the startling plot twists and for the uncanny truths found herein. I'm struggling to rate the book but I'm going to go with a 4.5.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara G

    I have to admit, I did like this book better than the first one. The children are just slightly less...spoiled? Rich? The way they treat their servants still doesn't sit quite right with me but they do seem to have learnt something from part 1. I do miss Martha in this one, though, she seemed to care for the children quite a bit more than their parents. I'm not sure how I feel about the mother, the children seem to love her a lot but as a character she seems to be more of a plot device. My main iss I have to admit, I did like this book better than the first one. The children are just slightly less...spoiled? Rich? The way they treat their servants still doesn't sit quite right with me but they do seem to have learnt something from part 1. I do miss Martha in this one, though, she seemed to care for the children quite a bit more than their parents. I'm not sure how I feel about the mother, the children seem to love her a lot but as a character she seems to be more of a plot device. My main issue with the book, though, is the whole "savages" thing. I mean can one of these books go off without the children encountering a group of brown people they can treat like fauna?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Angela Smith

    Revisiting Childhood I watched the original series on tv when I was a little girl and on a whim decided to read the book. Enjoyed it as a bit of nostalgic escapism. The children get a new carpet in the nursery and get more than they expected with a golden egg and a wishing carpet.

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