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The Magic Fishbone

Charles Dickens

Book Overview: 

This is the extraordinary story of a very nearly ordinary princess named Alicia. Given a magic fish-bone by a good fairy, Alicia can have whatever she wishes--provided she wishes for it at the right time. But it's never clear when the right time is, and sometimes the best magic is no magic at all.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The King was, in his private profession, Under Government. The Queen’s father had been a medical man out of town.

They had nineteen children, and were always having more. Seventeen of these children took care of the baby; and Alicia, the eldest, took care of them all. Their ages varied from seven years to seven months.

[Pg 8]Let us now resume our story.

One day the King was going to the office, when he stopped at the fishmonger’s to buy a pound and a half of salmon not too near the tail, which the Queen (who was a careful housekeeper) had requested him to send home. Mr Pickles, the fishmonger, said, “Certainly, sir, is there any other article, Good-morning.”

The King went on towards the office in a melancholy mood, for quarter day was such a long way off, and several of the dear children were growing out of their clothes. He had not proceeded far, when Mr Pickles’s errand-boy came running after him, and sa. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Marvelous fairy tale of the victorian days. Represents the typical function of the literature magic tale. by V. Propp we see different typical functions in the text. magic gift, problems and their solving, wedding. no fairy tale can be without it.

Odd but cute. The Fairy Godmother as a type rather than a bland cypher is always clever; making her a character rather than deus ex machina is fun and Dicken's sassy fairy godmother definitely steals the show. The only other passages in the book - and they are short - where Dicken's shines is whe...more

Good story with a very weird ending..a seven year old girl gets married and the dog chokes to death.

One in a set of 4 stories that Dickens' describes as authored by a 7-year old girl.

The golden motto :
“When we have done our very very best... and that is not enough, then I think the right time must have come for asking help of others.”

Rating it between 3-4 stars, for these reasons:
a) The king...more

I have arranged my thoughts into a haiku:

"Cautionary tale,
To avoid quick, magic fixes,
But jump at marriage."

While the rest of you were no doubt hunting up your beloved, time-worn copy of A Christmas Carol, in preparation for the coming Yuletide, I decided to revisit this story which I first encountered years ago in a university course on children's literature. This edition of Dickens' delightfully odd...more

Hilarious. The hidden humor was too old for the kids to fully comprehend, but they enjoyed the story. Dickens does a great job of writing as if it were written by a 7 yr old. I loved it.

Read this for some kids at the library. It fell flat. First problem were how many kids they had. THen how royalty was living ordinary lives. Then is was why is a 7 year old getting married...So many issues with this. SO it was too fake for the children. It wasn't fairy tale enough to dismiss real...more

Delightful story, I had a record as a child with this story and I liked it very much, even without any illustrations except one (not very well drawn) on the cover of the record.
These illustrations are wonderful, the artist is S. Beatrice Pearse. The edition I have is from 1911.

Why I like this st...more

A funny little story. Apparently, marriage at seven years and a multitude of children was every girl's fantasy.

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