Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tale of Imagination

Gerald, Kathleen, and Jimmy hope to find adventure when they set off to explore the woods, but they get far more than they bargained for when they discover the Enchanted Castle.

At first they seem to be in a fairy tale come true, until a friend turns invisible, thanks to a magic ring that she can’t remove. Adventure follows adventure as they seek to control the magic – but the magic has a will of its own and it is all they can do to keep up.

Faced with sleeping princesses, magic rings, and moonlit gardens filled with enchantment, the children must use all their courage and ingenuity to control the magic and solve the mystery surrounding the Enchanted Castle.

Title: The Enchanted Castle
Author: E. Nesbit
Paul Zelinsky
Published: 1907
Publisher: Books of Wonder
Pages: 288
Genre: Children’s Fantasy

E. Nesbit’s imaginative and superbly well-written, The Enchanted Castle is a modern children’s fantasy story, which is even more surprising since it was first published in 1907! This incredible
writer’s works have inspired several other children's writers over the years including C. S. Lewis who mentions some of Nesbit's characters in one of his Chronicles of Narnia books.

If it wasn’t for my online reading group,
The Childrens Books of Yesterday choosing The Enchanted Castle as January's group read, I probably wouldn't have picked up the book on my own. I have heard of Nesbit before but I didn’t think it would really appeal to me. Was I ever wrong!

Just about everything a kid has ever imagined- invisibility, growing tall, growing older, even turning into a statue- happens to the four children in this novel... and they can’t seem to stay out of trouble! I liked both Gerald and Kathleen more than any of the other characters because Mabel and Jimmy were both immature and annoying characters. Eliza was another favorite character even though she refused to believe her own little adventure with the magic ring but adults always do, don't they? I couldn’t imagine not being completely terrified those Ugly-Wugglies though!

Many of Mrs. Nesbit’s books have been made into movies over the years
and The Enchanted Castle is no exception. It was made into a TV series in 1979 by the BBC but that’s about all the information I can find on it. I’ve included several of the illustrations from my book here which are by Paul O. Zelinsky who has also illustrated some of Nesbit’s other stories (you can click to enlarge).

The Enchanted Castle has now passed into public domain so several sites have uploaded the entire book but the
Gutenberg Project’s version is one of the best and LibriVox has the audio book online too. I also found an interesting article about E. Nesbit’s works by the New York Review of Books.


  1. I LOVE the illustrations! Thanks for posting them. I definitely need to look for that illustrated edition, because Zelinsky's one of my favorite illustrators. I read Five Children and It to my kids last year, and I'm thinking it may be time to pick up another one of Nesbit's books. They loved it!

  2. Like Darla, I'm quite taken by the illustrations!

  3. He is quite talented isn't he? I thought they conveyed the book rather well.



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