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The Time Garden (Tales of Magic #4)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  2,736 ratings  ·  80 reviews
"Anything can happen when you have all the time in the world" says the frog-like Natterjack in old relative Mrs Whiton's thyme garden. Cousins Roger, Ann, Eliza and girl-crazy Jack ride for American rebels, bow to Queen Elizabeth I, and even rescue their own parents when they were children.
Published 1958 by Harcourt, Brace
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This is a re-read, as I was reading it out loud to my 9-year-old son. I dearly love Edward Eager's books, so it was a bit painful to revisit this one and discover that it was not as good as I'd remembered it. The characterization is great (headstrong Eliza with her "leadership qualities" especially is a terrific prickly girl character, though her character arc wasn't half as satisfying or fully resolved as I'd thought), the dialogue wryly funny, the setting well described, and the premise as mag ...more
As always, Edward Eager's writing left me feeling happy :-) I love his style--it seems so warm and personal, and "The Time Garden" is a delightful fantasy with lots of humor and fun. Plus, it takes place in the summer so this was a good time to read it ;-)
FYI: there are "Little Women" spoilers in this book :-)
An Odd1
"Anything can happen when you have all the time in the world" p 20 on the sundial in the thyme patch reminds me of Jane Louise Curry's Parsley Sage Rosemary and Time . The froggy Natterjack proud Cockney accent " 'ighly superior" p 24 "London bred my grandaddy's grandaddy was .. H'emigrated 'ere" p 24 'ides in a patch of thyme for visiting children. Four cousins re-unite for magic holiday while Roger's dad puts on a London play, other parents tour Europe. ...more
Four cousins find a garden that allows them to travel magically through time (by sniffing thyme). As in all of Eager's books, however, magic is unpredictable and often uncontrollable. This is a great book to read aloud with a mixed age group because the thrills and danger are not too excessive for younger listeners, but the wit and history based humor will appeal to older kids and adults. Another good thing about Eager is that his characters are realistic and interesting. His girls are often bra ...more
Reading Edward Eager's books to the kids has been a lot of fun. Are they great literature? No (but compared to much of what's published today, they're practically Shakespeare). But they really capture that mid-20th-century milieu, while blatantly and shamelessly giving nods to E. Nesbit's books from half a century earlier. (After all, what is the Natterjack but Eager's own Psammead?)

In this book, the four children from Knight's Castle are spending the summer together by the ocean. The discover
Edward Eager's books are classics, and some of my very favorites from childhood. The illustrations by N.M. Bodeker were a huge influence on me, and I loved the stories (you think Harry Potter is original? Hardly). These are excellent books, published mid-century, that build on a foundation laid decades earlier by masters like E. Nesbit.
Since I am a gardener, I loved this book. I read it out loud to Will, and we were both so excited to pick it up each night. Half Magic is still my favorite by this author, though.
One of those books that you'll retrieve from the children's section over and over again, no matter how old you are.
Witty, humorous, magical and historical. My roommates and i read this book aloud to each other just for fun :)
awwww....I love Edgar Eager books. It has a kind of old fashioned feel to it that adds soooo much charm.
In the third installment in Eager's magic series, four children spend the summer at a mysterious old house by the sea, and discover the house has a magical garden.

This is my personal favorite of the series, in part because of the plays on "time" and "thyme" and the crossover chapter (but no details on that because of spoilers). In general, the book is rather like a seven year old watched a few episodes of Doctor Who and then decided to write a book with his own childish adventures. In the end, i
I don't think I'd have found this any more interesting as a child than I do as an adult. Every time there was something there with potential, the book edged away from it. The concept of the time garden had real potential, but there was so little description or sense of space or presence within it that it was barely noticeable - a real shame for such a potentially lovely idea. The Natterjack didn't just pay homage to Edith Nesbitt, it was a washed and wrung-out version of a Nesbitt equivalent cha ...more

I really enjoyed reading The Time Garden much more than I did Knights Castle. These two books have the same set of characters, but the story in this book was much more interesting to me.

I am beginning to enjoy this set of characters more as I continue to read about their adventures. However, I do not like Roger, Ann, Eliza, and Jack as much as I do the children from the other books. Jack is my least favorite character in this book because he is growing out o
Wayne S.
In another one of Edward Eager's Tales of Magic, the irrepressible children from Knight’s Castle return for some further magic adventures. The father of Roger and Ann, who live in Toledo, OH, has written a play that is to be produced in London, England. He and their mother must go there The brother and sister are to stay with their cousins in Baltimore, MD, Jack and Eliza, again, but Aunt Katharine and Uncle John are planning a business trip to England too, so the four cousins are sent to spend ...more
I picked this book because the cover reminded of of a Roald Dahl book (which I've loved since I learned to read) and I was slightly disappointed that the story wasn't nearly as magical as Roald Dahl's. Its not that it was a bad story, but I had a set expectation in my mind that it fell short of.
The premise is basically that four children (one who is coming into puberty and finding more interest in girls than adventure) move to their aunt's house on a cliff and discover a garden of thyme. Howeve

This fanciful book presents 4 children enjoying a seaside summer on the Massachsuetts coast; they meet a curious creature in the garden, who introduces them to the magic and mystery of the thyme plants in the herb garden. These plants are the Vehicle for travel, both in time (American history) and in space (back to England where their parents are vacationing).

On each of their trips they try not to change anything (obeying their own, temporal Prime Directive,
My kids and I continue to love Edward Eager's books. In this one, I especially enjoyed playing with the Natterjack's accent while reading aloud, and all of the time/thyme puns. I also love the eye-rolling the other kids in the story do in response to Jack's budding teenager-ness and the intersection of this story with those in other classics (and with Eager's Magic by the Lake) and with historical events. The premise is pretty much the same as in the other books---the kids discover an "in" to ma ...more
When I was a kid, I read several books by this author and also by E. Nesbit. I enjoyed both immensely.

Edgar knew and loved the works of E. Nesbit too and admits his own to be deliberately similar to hers.

They all involve a small group of children who stumble upon different kinds of limited magic which they employ with greater and lesser success as they learn the rules and have adventures.

This particular book involves time/thyme magic, but I don't think it's one of the best because the magic kee

** Time and again, the children from Knight's Castle have longed for another magic adventure. But you can't find magic just anywhere. It doesn't just grow like grass. It requires the right place and the right time --

Or thyme, as the case may be.

For at Mrs. Whiton's house, magic grows wild as the fragrant banks of thyme in her garden. Eliza insists that time doesn't grow, it flies -- yet growing in the garden is olden time, future time, and common time. Or so says the Natterjack, the odd toad
Kristin Shields
May 07, 2012 Kristin Shields rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
May 7, 2012: I have read this book and all of the other magic books by Edward Eager more times than I can count. I read this in couple of hours yesterday while taking notes and sketches for another book quilt. This one will be the subject of a quilt for a Children's Literature challenge and I'm really excited about it.

This story combines time (thyme) travel, history and word play to make for a wonderful and timeless story. I won't spoil it except to say that every child deserves to read these b
Oh dear. How embarrassing. Even for the Natterjack I can't bring myself to give it more than 2 stars.
Patricia Burroughs
I loved the Edward Eager books as a child. I'm clearly not alone because I was told a few years back that Stephen Spielberg has had them all optioned for years. Of all of them, this was my favorite. I do recommend that you read them in sequence, but I had to list this amongst my favorites.

Oh, what is it about? Well, it's about children who are staying where there is a thyme garden filled with all different kinds of time, only to discover that it's a time garden, that lets them travel through tim
One of my favorite childhood books. I read and loved every Edward Eager book as a child.
Sep 13, 2007 Chicklet rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children and anyone who would love to step back in time
These children accidently discover that a thyme garden with various types of thyme turns out to be a time garden as well. The children travel through different parts of time by the chapter. Yes, that does make it educational, but please don't read it for that. It's a fantatic work of the imagination. It feels like you're really there. I also like the way that each child's choice of which part of history to travel to is a reflection on them. Imagine how much you would discover about your friends ...more
My favorite of the Edward Eager books.
One day the three children found natter jack and the natter jack went on many adventures in time in the time garden. A magical theme helped them travel and travel back. They visited a poor lady in the past, the Civil war, and other places in the past.
Molly's Sister
This is my favorite book of Edward Eager's. It's about these kids that go to this house for the summer and discover that they can travel to different times and places using the different kinds of thyme (pronounced time so yeah it's a pun). The thing I like about this book is as you read it you see characters from other books. Some from Edward Eager's books and some from other book like Little Women. It's really cool because there is no order to read the books in but as you read you see that they ...more
Kressel Housman
I really hoped to finish this with my kids as it's my favorite in the series, but it seems they agree with my husband and like Knight's Castle best. It's probably a male thing - knights and fights and all that. This is a time travel story, which includes excursions into the American revolution, the underground railroad, and a romp with Jo and Laurie of Little Women. Like all of Edward Eager books, adults will love it just as much as kids. And there are some great time puns in there, too.
This book is the sequel to "Knight's Castle" and it is the best book of the two. Ann and Roger, along with their two cousins, Jack and Eliza, go to stay with an old friend, but magic is what makes the summer NOT boring! This book was fun and it was funny and the last lines are what really get me. "He and the garden were waiting. They were wait-ing for more children. They didn't care how long they waited. They had all the time in the world." If you love magic books, read this!
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Vecchio Book Club: The Time Garden 1 1 Aug 16, 2012 04:38PM  
  • The Magic City
  • The Four-Story Mistake (The Melendy Family, #2)
  • An Enemy at Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #5)
  • The Diamond in the Window (Hall Family Chronicles, #1)
  • The Witch Family
  • Shadow Castle
  • Linnets and Valerians
  • The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet (Mushroom Planet, #1)
  • The Cuckoo Tree (The Wolves Chronicles, #6)
  • Mary Poppins in the Park (Mary Poppins, #4)
Eager was born in and grew up in Toledo, Ohio and attended Harvard University class of 1935. After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he lived for 14 years before moving to Connecticut. He married Jane Eberly in 1938 and they had a son, Fritz.

Eager was a childhood fan of L. Frank Baum's Oz series, and started writing children's books when he could not find stories he wanted to read to h
More about Edward Eager...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of Magic (7 books)
  • Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1)
  • Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2)
  • Magic by the Lake (Tales of Magic, #3)
  • Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic, #5)
  • The Well-Wishers (Tales of Magic, #6)
  • Seven-Day Magic (Tales of Magic, #7)
Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1) Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2) Seven-Day Magic (Tales of Magic, #7) Magic by the Lake (Tales of Magic, #3) Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic, #5)

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“But in the garden the sun still shone. The innumerable bees hummed. The scent of thyme hung on the air. But only the Natterjack was there to breathe the fragrant essence of it.

He and the garden were waiting. They were waiting for more children. They didn't care how long they waited. They had all the time in the world.

-The Time Garden, Edward Eager”
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