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The Phoenix and the Carpet

E. Nesbit

Book Overview: 

The Phoenix and the Carpet is a fantasy novel for children, written by E. Nesbit. It is the second in a trilogy of novels that began with Five Children and It, and follows the adventures of the same five protagonists – Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and the Lamb. Their mother buys the children a new carpet to replace the one from the nursery that was destroyed in an unfortunate fire accident. Through a series of exciting events, the children find an egg in the carpet which cracks into a talking Phoenix. The Phoenix explains that the carpet is a magical one that will grant them three wishes per day. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .They did not remember having done anything extra wrong, but it is so frightfully easy to displease a cook. 'It's them children: there's that there new carpet in their room, covered thick with mud, both sides, beastly yellow mud, and sakes alive knows where they got it. And all that muck to clean up on a Sunday! It's not my place, and it's not my intentions, so I don't deceive you, ma'am, and but for them limbs, which they is if ever there was, it's not a bad place, though I says it, and I wouldn't wish to leave, but—'

'I'm very sorry,' said mother, gently. 'I will speak to the children. And you had better think it over, and if you REALLY wish to go, tell me to-morrow.'

Next day mother had a quiet talk with cook, and cook said she didn't mind if she stayed on a bit, just to see.

But meantime the question of the muddy carpet had been gone into thoroughly by father and mother. Jane's candid explanation that the mud had come from the bo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

That evening, Mother read to them from a book called The Phoenix and the Carpet, which she had had since she was a little girl. Like all the best children's books, it was written to be read aloud; you immediately knew that Mrs. Nesbit had read it aloud to her own children, and every now and then...more

Sadly, classism, sexism and racism did dampen my enjoyment of this otherwise fantastic children's book.

While I really enjoyed the writing style of the book, especially the arch little comments on human behaviour, it was hard for me to get past the casual "oh those poor childish savages" racism inherent in books from this era.

I think when the Spawn read this, we'll have a little talk about the raci...more

Delightful Edwardian flying carpet larks. Second book in the 'Five Children and It' trilogy. The endearing 'n' pompous Phoenix is one of my favourite characters in literature.

*wipes tear*

Did not like this book as much as 'Five Children and It'. I felt the children had better adventures in the first book with the Psammead than they did with the Phoenix or the carpet....I guess they made better wishes in the first book than the second.

"I daresay they're not real cats," said Jane madly, "Perhaps they're only dream-cats."
"I'll dream-cat you, my lady," was the brief response of the force."

In regards to this book, I'm going to write something so groundbreaking that I would be willing to bet lots and lots of metaphorical pounds on...more

I loved this book and the series as a young girl. This book transported me with its imaginative plot and made me want to be one of the lucky children on a magic carpet!

It's one of those timeless children's books that I hope children may still read today. Up there with books like The Famous Five b...more

I love the Phoenix, he is as vain as Hercule Poirot, but his self-esteem fades as the stories progress. I love his pedantic, precise voice, and the way he washes up the teacups. I agree with another reviewer that the cat episode is almost too painful to be entertaining. Another thing that strikes...more

Delightful shenanigans with four children who are left home alone suspiciously often. I had considered only giving it four stars, due to frequent references to savages and naive notions about burglars. Not to mention comments that it's unmanly for boys to cry. But I just can't help myself. It's j...more

I heard (in a book about little-known classics) that this was a great Christmastime read-aloud. It did take place around Christmastime, but it's not about Christmas at all. Our family loved the first book of this trilogy (Five Children and It), and the Phoenix and the Carpet was almost as good. N...more

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