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The Wonderful Garden

E. Nesbit

Book Overview: 

Do you believe in magic? Caroline, Charles and Charlotte do, and nothing that happens during their summer holiday at their great uncle's house does anything to diminish that belief. There the Three C.'s find a wonderful garden and some very old books, resulting in escapades which do not necessarily please the grown-ups.

E. Nesbit, as usual, transports us back to the hazy summer days of a well-to-do Edwardian childhood, liberally spiced with magic, humor and lessons learned.

Published exactly 100 years ago, this is one of her least-known children's books, out of print for many years, and with no text available online at the time of recording. Yes, it's dated. Yes, it's politically incorrect. But it is delightful nonetheless. As Gore Vidal once wrote: "...though a reading of E. Nesbit is hardly going to change the pattern of a nation, there is some evidence that the child who reads her will never be quite the same again, and that is probably a good thing.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .And he’d take it away. I say. I suppose there’s a church somewhere near. And a clergyman. He’d know.’

‘Of course he would,’ Caroline said with returning brightness. ‘Let’s go and ask him.’

[53]

Half an hour later the children, coming down a deep banked lane, saw before them the grey tower of the church, with elm-trees round it, standing among old gravestones and long grass.

A white faced house stood on the other side of the churchyard.

‘I suppose the clergyman lives there,’ said Caroline. ‘Please,’ she said to a pleasant-looking hook-nosed man who was mending the churchyard wall, and whistling ‘Blow away the morning dew’ as he slapped on the mortar and trimmed off the edges with a diamond-shaped trowel, ‘please, does the clergyman live in that house?’

‘He does,’ said the man with the trowel. ‘. . . Read More