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)|
SOurce: Richard Farr, Amazon.com.
There is a curtain, thin as gossamer, clear as glass, strong as iron, that hangs forever between the world of magic and the world that seems to us to be real. And when once people have found one of the little weak spots in that curtain which are marked by magic rings and amulets, and the like, almost anything may happen.
When Gerald, Jimmy, and Kathleen set out in search of adventure, they stumble upon a mysterious castle with a beautiful princess asleep in the garden. The princess is really Mabel, the housekeeper's niece, who is only pretending to be royalty. But when she shows them a secret room filled with treasure where they discover a magical ring, enchantment becomes a reality. The children soon realize they'll need all of the bravery and ingenuity they can muster to contend with the magic enveloping the enchanted castle.