After enjoying the charming children’s classic Five Children and It in March this year, I only waited till April to return to Edith Nesbit’s Psammead fantasy series with The Phoenix and the Carpet.
The five siblings: Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane and their baby brother, the Lamb, are back home with their parents; in a middle-class townhouse in London. Now they are back to the cold, dark and boring routine of home they reflect fondly on their magical summer holiday with the Psammead (sand fairy). Then mother buys them a second-hand carpet for the Nursery, as the carpet unfolds a small, strange egg drops out from which a phoenix hatches! Not only that, but the carpet itself is a magic carpet which will grant them 3 wishes a day. So with the help of the phoenix, the children set off for more magical, absurd and disastrous adventures on their own flying carpet.
I enjoyed catching up with and sharing some more adventures with Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane and the Lamb. 5 children which are inquisitive, clever, argumentative and can sometimes be rather naughty; which can make them slightly less likeable, than the Railway Children, but equally realistic and amusing to read about. I still found that no one sibling stood out from the group – I couldn’t really distinguish Robert from Cyril or Anthea from Jane. However I did feel they have matured somewhat and ‘the lamb’ is even sweeter now he can speak and sing. Overall still a fun group to read about, especially now they have mother to try to explain strange circumstances away too.
As in Five Children and It, I really enjoyed the children’s quaint and eccentric adventures that arose from their childish and often spur-of-the-moment wishes. This time they found themselves on tropical islands, in derelict castles, finding hidden treasure, helping those in need, matchmaking and flying above the rooftops of London. And if anything I found myself loving the glorious, preening phoenix more than the ‘It’, the grumpy sand fairy. On top of which the carpet even seemed to have its own eccentric personality, which we find out from what it brings back from its own solo missions.
The Phoenix and the Carpet was another charming, magical children’s classic which I zipped through. I look forward to finishing the series with The Story of the Amulet. Good read.
Have you read this? Or any of Nesbit’s other children’s books?
(Originally I actually picked this book for What’s in a Name 2016 but I have since realised it fits so many other challenges too)