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The Time Garden (Tales of Magic #4)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  3,290 Ratings  ·  92 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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Dec 16, 2009 Qt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, fantasy
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 :-)
Apr 20, 2015 R.J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
An Odd1
Feb 24, 2015 An Odd1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"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
Feb 13, 2015 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2009 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 12, 2014 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, fiction
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
May 23, 2007 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 01, 2012 Lela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
awwww....I love Edgar Eager books. It has a kind of old fashioned feel to it that adds soooo much charm.
Jul 30, 2011 Melanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
Not my favorite so far in the series, but still clever and cute. We really enjoyed the time travel, and how the kids actually run into their parents years earlier on their own magic adventure.
Apr 24, 2015 Sem rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth-fiction
Oh dear. How embarrassing. Even for the Natterjack I can't bring myself to give it more than 2 stars.
Apr 21, 2010 DanaMichelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witty, humorous, magical and historical. My roommates and i read this book aloud to each other just for fun :)
One of those books that you'll retrieve from the children's section over and over again, no matter how old you are.
Mary Freshley
Oct 12, 2016 Mary Freshley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved these books when I was young, and this was my favorite of all the Tales of Magic because it overlaps generations and time periods. I never use thyme without thinking of this book!
Wayne S.
Nov 24, 2013 Wayne S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Fantasy Book Addict
Aug 12, 2014 Fantasy Book Addict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

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
Neil Coulter
I don't know why it took me so long to find Edward Eager. I only discovered him several years ago while browsing in the public library. I'm so glad I found him, because his books have become favorites in our family's bedtime reading. He writes with exactly the kind of pun-laced dry humor and wordplay that we love. It's a lot of fun to read aloud to the kids. I also like the many references to other books and movies, some of which require some further explanation to our children, who haven't yet ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Nikki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Roger, Ann, Eliza, and Jack are back together for the summer while their parents are in England. They're staying in a very old house by the sea with a Great-aunt of some sort, Mrs. Whiton. In any case, there's a marvelous garden full of thyme...and time, as it turns out. Their magical guide this time is a Natterjack--a frog-like creature who minds the garden and the magic.

As they use the thyme for time travel, all sorts of adventures ensue.

2.5 stars, really. This one was a bit slower for us. We
Jan 30, 2013 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
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

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,
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
Sarah Crawford
Feb 28, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a cute story for younger readers about a group of children who go to live with someone while their parents are overseas presenting a new play the father had written. In a garden they meet a natterjack toad that is a magical creature. Through the use of thyme, the herb, the children are able to travel through time, but are to do good deeds while they are in another time.

They get to see a house that was part of the Underground Railroad, they get to meet the young Louisa May Alcott, and the
Kristin Shields
May 07, 2012 Kristin Shields rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 05, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Molly's Sister
May 24, 2008 Molly's Sister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 13, 2007 Chicklet rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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.
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Vecchio Book Club: The Time Garden 1 1 Aug 16, 2012 04:38PM  
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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)

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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”
“Old Mrs. Whiton stopped waving. She stood on the steps of the old house, looking up at the sky, where clouds were piling in the northeast. That meant a storm was coming, and old Mrs. Whiton's eyes flashed. She liked storms. They were a challenge to her. She went into the house, and soon her typewriter keys were clacking wildly, furiously, as though the storm were already there and she were racing the wind of it.” 1 likes
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