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Enchanted Castle, The
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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
Pretending a castle they've discovered is enchanted, three children come upon a "sleeping princess" in the garden (It's Mabel, the housekeeper's niece, who is also doing some pretending). When Mabel shows them a secret treasure room, enchantment becomes a reality. Joanna Ward gives an even-paced, unembellished and totally satisfying reading. She skillfully renders dialogue with slight characterization, a good choice to avoid overwhelming Nesbit's rich dialogue. The popular British author's adventures of childhood have always been good read-aloud choices; the audiobook format superbly showcases them. C.R.A. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Afterword by Peter Glassman. "Originally published in 1907, this book concerns four likable English children and their adventures with a magic ring. It's hard to imagine a more appealing showcase for Nesbit's fantasy than this handsome volume....Zelinsky's artwork is as lively as the story and very much of the period....Beautiful."--Booklist. A Books of Wonder Classic.
A short avenue of cypresses led, widening as it went, to a marble terrace that lay broad and white in the sunlight. The children, blinking, leaned their arms on the broad, flat balustrade and gazed. Immediately below them was a lake just like a lake in "The Beauties of Italy" a lake with swans and an island and weeping willows.
Card catalog description
Four English children find a wonderful world of magic through an enchanted wishing ring.
About the Author
Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) was the author of a number of much-loved stories in which ordinary children encounter magical adventures in the everyday world. Her novels include the three-book series Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, and The Story of the Amulet. Her other books include The Enchanted Castle, which is also available from Books of Wonder/Morrow in a handsome gift editionfeaturingPaul o. Zelensky's paintings..
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