The Enchanted Castle (Puffin Classics)

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9780140367430: The Enchanted Castle (Puffin Classics)

E. Nesbit's classic story of how Gerald, Cathy and Jimmy find an enchanted garden and awake a princess from a hundred-year sleep, only to have her immediately made invisible by a magic ring. Her rescue is difficult, funny and sometimes frightening.

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Review:

A plot summary makes this story sound ordinary by children's literature standards: the summer adventures of four children who discover an enchanted castle and a magic ring. But Edith Nesbit's adored classic (written in 1907) is so much more than the description suggests. Right from the start, the author plays with the idea of magic, teasing us with a sleeping princess who turns out to be a fake. Elsewhere, the magic is "real" as can be--in fact, though written nearly 100 years ago, The Enchanted Castle prefigures the magical realism of modern novels in the matter-of-fact way it weaves the uncanny into the children's everyday life. And, while few authors are confident enough to parody bad writing, Nesbit does it hilariously (and ever so gently) through one character's tendency to "talk like a book": "'To brush his hair and his clothes... was to our hero but the work of a moment,' said Gerald." Things turn scary when the Ugly Wuglies, fake people made from painted cardboard masks, old clothes, and broomsticks, come to life. But on the whole this book about enchantment--much praised by such luminaries as H.G. Wells and Noel Coward--is, simply, enchanting. (Ages 6 and older) --Richard Farr

About the Author:

EDITH NESBIT was a mischievous child who grew up into an unconventional adult. With her husband, Hubert Bland, she was one of the founder members of the socialist Fabian Society; their household became a centre of the socialist and literary circles of the times. E. Nesbit turned late to children's writing. Her first children's book, THE TREASURE SEEKERS, was published in 1899 to great acclaim. Other books featuring the Bastable children followed, and a series of magical fantasy books, including FIVE CHILDREN AND IT also became very popular. THE RAILWAY CHILDREN was first published monthly in the LONDON MAGAZINE in 1905, and published as a book in 1906 and has been in print ever since.

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