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The Enchanted Castle (1907) begins when three children stumble upon a mysterious house and discover an invisible princess and a magic ring. At first it all appears to be a great adventure. When the children need an audience for a play they have mounted, they make their own out of old clothes, pillows, and umbrellas. Then things go inexplicably wrong. To the young dramatist The Enchanted Castle (1907) begins when three children stumble upon a mysterious house and discover an invisible princess and a magic ring. At first it all appears to be a great adventure. When the children need an audience for a play they have mounted, they make their own out of old clothes, pillows, and umbrellas. Then things go inexplicably wrong. To the young dramatists’ horror, as the curtain falls, there is a ghastly applause. The creatures have come alive—and they prove to be most disagreeable! In Five Children and It (1902), a group of children are digging in a sandpit one day when they discover a small, bad-tempered sand-fairy known as the Psammead, who is allowed to grant one wish per day. The children wish for many things—to be beautiful, to be rich, to grow wings—but none of the wishes turn out right. Luckily, the magic wears off at sunset, but will that be soon enough?


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The Enchanted Castle (1907) begins when three children stumble upon a mysterious house and discover an invisible princess and a magic ring. At first it all appears to be a great adventure. When the children need an audience for a play they have mounted, they make their own out of old clothes, pillows, and umbrellas. Then things go inexplicably wrong. To the young dramatist The Enchanted Castle (1907) begins when three children stumble upon a mysterious house and discover an invisible princess and a magic ring. At first it all appears to be a great adventure. When the children need an audience for a play they have mounted, they make their own out of old clothes, pillows, and umbrellas. Then things go inexplicably wrong. To the young dramatists’ horror, as the curtain falls, there is a ghastly applause. The creatures have come alive—and they prove to be most disagreeable! In Five Children and It (1902), a group of children are digging in a sandpit one day when they discover a small, bad-tempered sand-fairy known as the Psammead, who is allowed to grant one wish per day. The children wish for many things—to be beautiful, to be rich, to grow wings—but none of the wishes turn out right. Luckily, the magic wears off at sunset, but will that be soon enough?

30 review for The Enchanted Castle and Five Children and It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I enjoyed reading this fantasy novel written between 1905-1907. As a child, I didn't read many novels about magic and fantasy, of course excluding Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. This genre was new to me. The first story, Five Children and It, was entertaining and imaginative. Believing that there was something that could make your wishes or dreams come true was appealling, until you came to realize that you must be careful what you wish for. The Enchanted Castle was so wonderful. I enjoyed I enjoyed reading this fantasy novel written between 1905-1907. As a child, I didn't read many novels about magic and fantasy, of course excluding Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. This genre was new to me. The first story, Five Children and It, was entertaining and imaginative. Believing that there was something that could make your wishes or dreams come true was appealling, until you came to realize that you must be careful what you wish for. The Enchanted Castle was so wonderful. I enjoyed this story much more partly because it included mythology and a touch of romance. As in the Five Children and It, the children are so polite, intelligent and well bred. You want to go on the adventures with the children. It is especially comforting to know that whatever trouble they get themselves into with the "ring", it will all turn out fine. I highly recommend the Enchanted Castle because of its magical quality and the belief in fate.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    The Enchanted Castle is charming in the typical way of Victorian British children's literature: upper middle class white English children encountering strange and fantastical occurrences, being generally likable, but slightly insipid; a pretty harmless book overall and if you like children's literature or the history of children's literature, it's worth a read. I found Five Children and It immensely more unlikable. The children are richer, brattier. When given the chance to have their wishes gra The Enchanted Castle is charming in the typical way of Victorian British children's literature: upper middle class white English children encountering strange and fantastical occurrences, being generally likable, but slightly insipid; a pretty harmless book overall and if you like children's literature or the history of children's literature, it's worth a read. I found Five Children and It immensely more unlikable. The children are richer, brattier. When given the chance to have their wishes granted, they wish for money or for things they can monetize (e.g., one becomes a giant, so they exhibit him in a sideshow for pay). But their household has servants and they have parents who - we learn through an uninteresting plot twist - are wealthy enough to buy jewels. In contrast to, say, Tom in The Water-babies (a chimney sweep whose poverty is criminalized, setting the plot of that book in motion), these are not children whose wants for sweets and money is sympathetic. Add to this an obnoxious scene, that I think is supposed to read as playful and adventurous, where "red Indians" are portrayed as uniformly aggressive yet easily dupe-able bogeymen, and I was just waiting for the thing to end.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    Read through the Five Children fairly quickly. I thought it was interesting enough. For a child reading the story there are great morals to it. Be careful what you wish for, be happy with what you have and you never appreciate what you have until it's gone. Very imaginative wishes. However I only got through 2 chapters of The Enchanted Castle. Same ideas reciting the names -shall be called this but not that and wishes again and magic. I don't like forcing myself to read. I found time is too pre Read through the Five Children fairly quickly. I thought it was interesting enough. For a child reading the story there are great morals to it. Be careful what you wish for, be happy with what you have and you never appreciate what you have until it's gone. Very imaginative wishes. However I only got through 2 chapters of The Enchanted Castle. Same ideas reciting the names -shall be called this but not that and wishes again and magic. I don't like forcing myself to read. I found time is too precious and there are too many books. One was enough from this author. A shame because I so looked forward to this. I can see how she became a "Golden Author" by her great imagination and imagery, but the premise on both stories is too similiar. Maybe at some point I shall try to pick up where I left off.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Wooldridge

    E (Edith) Nesbit is recognised as one of the great children's writers from the golden age of children's fiction in the early 20th century. These two reasonably long stories involve groups of children, mostly siblings, embarking on a series of adventures as a part of their daily playtime, which involve interactions with magic. Nesbit allows the children to experience the misfortunes that dabbling with magic forces can bring, but never in a harmful or dangerous manner. In The Five Children and It, f E (Edith) Nesbit is recognised as one of the great children's writers from the golden age of children's fiction in the early 20th century. These two reasonably long stories involve groups of children, mostly siblings, embarking on a series of adventures as a part of their daily playtime, which involve interactions with magic. Nesbit allows the children to experience the misfortunes that dabbling with magic forces can bring, but never in a harmful or dangerous manner. In The Five Children and It, for example, the children find a Psammead (Sammyad), a sand fairy, that grants wishes. The children make a thorough mess of this stroke of good fortune by being careless in what they wish for. The Enchanted Castle has a more dreamlike quality to it, with a magic ring that grants wishes being at the centre of the children's adventures. Again the message is to be careful and explicit in what you wish for. The stories are reminiscent of Enid Blyton stories of my own childhood, especially the Famous Five tales, although they generally didn't involve magic. Nesbit's writing seemed a little adult in places for these tales to be fully appreciated by younger children, and didn't quite have the same magic, humour and surrealism as, say Lewis Carroll and his Alice stories. These are worth a read in the context of a historical perspective on classical children's literature, and it is easy to see that later authors have borrowed heavily from some of the ideas of Nesbit and her contemporaries. 3.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    E. Nesbit's classic novel about 4 children who find a magic ring and help bring about the resolution of a long brewing love affair between their French governess and the local lord, is a charmingly written, episodic story full of Edwardian humor and the best aspects of early 20th century English literature: the wit, the sudden twists and turns, and the unexpected inclusivity of a culture on the cusp of abandoning its Victorian constraints for a freer and more joyous society. Each character is re E. Nesbit's classic novel about 4 children who find a magic ring and help bring about the resolution of a long brewing love affair between their French governess and the local lord, is a charmingly written, episodic story full of Edwardian humor and the best aspects of early 20th century English literature: the wit, the sudden twists and turns, and the unexpected inclusivity of a culture on the cusp of abandoning its Victorian constraints for a freer and more joyous society. Each character is rendered realistically, making the magic of their adventures somehow more magical, and as is Nesbit's great strength, interactions between the children in particular ring true. Though on the surface this is a simple tale about finding a magic item and having it cause all sorts of chaos as it passes from child to child, Nesbit slyly builds to an unexpectedly poignant climax, slipping in moments of thoughtful contemplation on the nature of magic, life, and the universe, how it all comes together, and what it leaves behind once it's gone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Len

    I prefer "Five Children and It" to "The Enchanted Castle". The characters of both are quite similar, so are their adventures and the concept of wishes. The illustrations are great! And it's a fun read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Be careful what you wish for. These children learn this lesson through many wishes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Enjoyable stories.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    2.5 stars A very imaginative story, but too long and overly descriptive. I enjoyed the basic plot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    This particular version has two stories by Edith Nesbit. If just being introduced to her works, I suggest getting the books themselves. This version begins with an author's biography, a timeline which tells of the author's life and works, and then an introduction which includes part of the author's life as well as an overview of the two stories. Since I had never read them before, it was semi-irritating to have a preview before the stories. The first story is Five Children and It . The family wit This particular version has two stories by Edith Nesbit. If just being introduced to her works, I suggest getting the books themselves. This version begins with an author's biography, a timeline which tells of the author's life and works, and then an introduction which includes part of the author's life as well as an overview of the two stories. Since I had never read them before, it was semi-irritating to have a preview before the stories. The first story is Five Children and It . The family with four older children and a baby travel to the country and then begin looking for something to do. In a nearby gravel pit, they start digging a hole to Australia. In the course of their digging, they find a Sand Fairy, who will give them one wish a day and the effects will be gone (or turned to stone) at sundown. It is relayed that prehistoric children wished for certain types of dinosaurs to eat, and what wasn't eaten turned to stone so that's why so many of their stone bones are found. The children wish for many different things, which result in hilarious and horrifying adventures, including one where the servants do not notice anything which was wished. The book results in the Sand Fairy taking a vacation but semi-promising to see those same children again. It is the first book of a trilogy as well as being included in this version. The second book in this volume is The Enchanted Castle . This storyline seems more nebulous, though there is the common thread of a particular ring and three siblings with a friend. The ring is not entirely a wishing ring, but rather it is whatever one says it is: invisibility, makes the wearer tall as houses, or grown-up, or a statue; whatever! Two star-crossed lovers find each other, it could be because of the ring, or not. Moving statues play roles in the story and eventually all is set as though the ring and is power had never been. I greatly enjoyed both of the stories, even though there was that overview. The style of British authors in the early half of the 1900's is exemplified and, for those who read The Chronicles of Narnia , these stories are reminiscent of them, even though these were published first and some elements of these stories got into that series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeni Enjaian

    I rather enjoyed this book, although at first I wondered how a "children's" book could be so long. Turns out that it's actually two stories. These stories are quite readable and engaging. These two stories are different yet at the same time by the time one reaches the end of the second story, the "ring" becomes very much like the "Samayyad."The four siblings of the first story also become very much like the three siblings and one friend of the second story. (Perhaps I should state that the other I rather enjoyed this book, although at first I wondered how a "children's" book could be so long. Turns out that it's actually two stories. These stories are quite readable and engaging. These two stories are different yet at the same time by the time one reaches the end of the second story, the "ring" becomes very much like the "Samayyad."The four siblings of the first story also become very much like the three siblings and one friend of the second story. (Perhaps I should state that the other way round.) That being said, I enjoyed the idea that there's real magic in the world visible to some but not to others while at the same time having very real consequences. Those consequences are much more realistic and much less sugar-coated than one would find in a similar story written in more recent times. I also think that I liked these two stories because of the many similarities to the Chronicles of Narnia, especially "The Magician's Nephew." I definitely recommend this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    The modern children’s story exists thanks to Nesbit, so reading at least one of her books is a must. However, I think I waited a bit too long to do it. Everything she’s lauded for creating is there (the magic, the extraordinary, the adventure for slightly upper-class English children), but I kept getting the feeling that I’ve read it all before and a little bit better. Neither Enchanted castle nor Five Children aged particularly well when compared to the literature that was inspired by them. I c The modern children’s story exists thanks to Nesbit, so reading at least one of her books is a must. However, I think I waited a bit too long to do it. Everything she’s lauded for creating is there (the magic, the extraordinary, the adventure for slightly upper-class English children), but I kept getting the feeling that I’ve read it all before and a little bit better. Neither Enchanted castle nor Five Children aged particularly well when compared to the literature that was inspired by them. I couldn’t help but compare them to newer stories like Narnia and finding them lacking in some of the charm and timelessness that makes me a fan of such stories. I didn’t enjoy the experience as much as I thought I would but I would still highly recommend Nesbit as a must read author of children’s stories. Perhaps, you just have to do it while still a child.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Starry

    I love Edith Nesbit's books. I love her light, humorous style (which seems very modern, considering she wrote 100 yrs ago) and her believable characters (who always sound like such fun companions) and her magical adventure stories. So it's a pleasure to share these favorite books with my kids, even if I need to explain lots of antiquated words as we go. Of these two stories, I like The Enchanted Castle better -- the scenes of statues coming to life in the moonlit garden have always stuck in my m I love Edith Nesbit's books. I love her light, humorous style (which seems very modern, considering she wrote 100 yrs ago) and her believable characters (who always sound like such fun companions) and her magical adventure stories. So it's a pleasure to share these favorite books with my kids, even if I need to explain lots of antiquated words as we go. Of these two stories, I like The Enchanted Castle better -- the scenes of statues coming to life in the moonlit garden have always stuck in my mind. (My kids and I also love Edward Eager books, which were written 50 yrs later and are clearly influenced by Nesbit's plots and style.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    This is definitely classic literature. It's two books, each about 200+ pgs. There's a magic sand fairy, magic ring, lots of kids, and fun adventures! The author writes as though she is seated with children all around her and she is making it up as she goes along, specifically making remarks to the reader(s)/listeners. Nesbit is a Brit, and luckily has footnotes explaining obscure words/phrases. Fun books for about 8 - 11 years of age.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Annm

    This book is really two full books in one, both intended for children. While one source described these both as classics, I can see why the first one really isn't read any more. It is awfully preachy about what children should not do. The second one started off in much the same way, and even has a similar theme of wishes gone wrong, but is a much better read. The second one is The Enchanted Castle.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Garner

    Nesbit was an author I thought I would enjoy more than I did. It seems like she influenced so many other British authors through her works but I didn’t see the staying power in these stories. They were charming, though the children did get rather annoying in their reactions. The Enchanted Castle is the better of the two stories, weaving the ordinary of life in with the extraordinary. The fake people are actually quite scary.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    So far, I have almost finished Five Children and It! It is a wonderful book and very funny. I chuckled a lot during the reading and had to share parts of the story with my husband throughout because his curiosity got the better of him! I found it to be a very worthwhile read. I will come and comment more as I finish it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erika Nelson

    The Enchanted Castle is an excellent example of its genera, and just the sort of story I loved when I was young. Nesbit understands children very well, and her story of magic that is real, dangerous, and full of adventures is simply a delight to read. This edition contains useful footnotes that translate some of the more outdated language and cultural references.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Just Me

    I saw this on the Classics shelf and (to my recollection) have never read anything by Ms. Nesbit. So, I gave it a try. The verdict? Charming and sweet. It's definitely aimed at children, but it's enjoyable if you want a really light read between books or to wind down. I probably would have loved these stories as a child.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    read these first before reading to my children. Actually i really liked then especially the Enchanted Castle as it is quite original in the story. Both books are much the same with the children and settings etc. if you like that time period of the 30-40s and they way the children speak etc you will like thesem if you won't then the books will bug you no end!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Farley

    Children making mischief. What could be better? Edith Nesbit artfully crafts two children's tales that stand up to the test of time. Both of these stories activated my imagination in ways I hadn't used since I was a child. They took me back to days when the entire world could be recreated in my mind, magic was real, and possibilities were endless.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    currently re-reading. great kids stories you haven't heard 7 billion times. the characters in them are pretty neat too -- they get mad at each other over stupid stuff when it's hot out, try to be good when it's hard and all. nice to turn off your brain to.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pinapetunia

    I read "Five Children and It" and I'm reading "The Enchanted Castle". I LOVE EDITH NESBIT!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I lurve me some Nesbit - it's so charmingly period, but the children behave in ways that still feel fresh. Note: does contain v. non-PC moments that made me feel a little awkward.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    It was very charming, replete with the foibles of misguided wishes and misunderstood magic. I think I would have enjoyed them more if I didn't read them back to back.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    This is definitely a children's book. I read half of it, skimmed the next hundred pages, then gave up. Small children would probably like it, but too long for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jaimie

    Fun children's books, written by a witty author. Though it was written so long ago, it translates wonderfully to modern day.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I loved this book! So far I have only just read the first book in the combo, Five Children and It, and I thought it was so delightful!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Smith

    Anything by E. Nesbit is amazingly magical. Not necessarily my favorite reads at this point in my life, but look forward to reading these books to my children when they're old enough.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Francis

    A wonderful book for kids a good book for adults who remember what it was like.

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