The Magic City (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press)
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The Magic City (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  838 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Philip Haldane builds a play city out of odds and ends that comes to life, when his beloved sister Helen marries Lucy's father. But the nurse tears down the city and traps Lucy. Peter, The Deliverer, must perform seven valorous deeds, opposed by the Pretenderette, a mysterious veiled woman who wants to be Queen. Noah builds an ark and adventures abound.
Paperback, 228 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Dodo Press (first published 1910)
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The first real book I ever read on my own; "real" in the sense of having a couple of hundred pages, not very many pictures, a plot, and some character development. I remember being puzzled by the switches between the everyday world and the fantasy world, and not understanding what was going on until about a third of the way through.

Then a clue came up which was too obvious to miss. He's in the magic city fighting the dragon... it's a clockwork dragon... he has a clockwork dragon in the everyday...more
Valerie Kyriosity
I enjoyed this quite a bit. Three stars for the book plus an extra star for the...well...stellar performance by reader Ruth Golding. One of the best LibriVox offerings I've discovered so far. If you're looking for good titles for kids, put this one on your list. And if you like children's stories for yourself, put this one on your list. And if you don't...well...I shall just have to feel sorry for you.
Mark Dewey
This was a cool book. I liked the ideas in it, and the story was cool.

With the exception of /The Book of Dragons/, and her other short fiction, I think I prefer E. Nesbit's fantasy that has a grounding in the real world most. There's a reason for this, though. When she writes in pure fantasy mode, she tends to go faster and introduce more characters more quickly. The adult characters in her pure fantasy stories totally cater to the fantasy settings, as well, and often seem like a part of the chi...more
Jun 21, 2012 Ania rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Shelves: britain
description E. Nesbit with a model of 'The Magic City'

This book was a true delight to read, and probably her best one so far in comparison to The Enchanted Castle and The Railway Children. I think if you are the sort of person who ever built a blanket fort and pretended it was real (even if it was a million years ago and you were only 5 then), you will definitely enjoy this story. If you aren't this type of person, I have a message for you: you are really boring :). Build one now and save your soul!!! hehe...more
I read a fair amount of Edith Nesbit as a child, but hadn't run across this one. About a boy who magically enters a city he had built of odds and ends, this book is reliable, if unexciting Nesbit.

The story, and the substory about the boy making friends with his new step-sister, doesn't bring much that's new. But the magic of Nesbit's writing is in the light, good-natured feel of her writing, and that's present here in full force.

All in all, a nice, light-hearted story, and a fun, safe read for y...more
This 1910 children’s fantasy is a miniature literary delight--if you can navigate the Edwardian asides which interrupt the storyline, and the endless stream of casually counted Deeds required of the juvenile protagonists. Reminiscent of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH and THE VOYAGES OF DR. DOOLITTLE this quaint tale examines the source of true Magic: the human heart and mind. Not Five Children (of IT fame) but two this time, who are not even siblings, face dangers in a strange land. a PAX-until-we-get-ou...more
Cheryl in CC NV
My edition had an introduction by Ann A. Flowers in which she states that the book's only significant flaw is that Helen isn't more kind to Philip when she suddenly gets married and leaves on a honeymoon. Well, Flowers ignores a few points of data. 1 - in those days, children were expected to cope better if given less time to dread (think of all the times you've read of a child suddenly being presented with a newborn sibling - didn't they wonder about the mom's belly?). 2 - Helen was swept up in...more
Oct 30, 2010 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heather by: Megan
Philip Haldane's parents are both dead, so Philip, who is ten, has been raised by his older half-sister, Helen. She's the only family he's had or wanted, and has always been a kind and caring (and fun!) parent. But now she's getting married to her childhood sweetheart, whose first wife died, and Philip is none too pleased about the situation. He's so upset by the upheaval that he's nasty to his new stepsister and everyone in his new home, though Lucy, his stepsister, is excited finally to have a...more
An Odd1
Philip is angry to be left behind with Lucy when beloved motherly sister Helen goes on honeymoon with Lucy's father, Peter Graham. Phil/Pip builds a magic city that comes alive, but a stern nurse takes it down, trapping Lucy inside. "Girls always keep to the paths. They never explore. Which just shows how little he knew about girls."

Phil returns and the children become heroic Deliverers who perform seven valorous deeds, opposed by the Pretenderette, a woman hidden behind a motor veil (view spoi...more
I came across this novel by chance. I was browsing among the many books on Kindle and found a bunch of free books. This one sounded interesting so I downloaded it. I started to read and found it to be a wonderful, interesting and fun book. It caught my interest right at the start. Miss Nesbit is an author with a great imagination. It is about a young 8 yr old boy and his sister. They are very close until she decides to be married. After the marriage, Philip goes to live with his sister, her husb...more
D.M. Dutcher (Sword Cross Rocket)
I'm surprised at how much I didn't like it. Phillip is a boy with a huge crush on his older sister. When she gets married, he sulks and rebuffs the friendship of Lu, and earns the ire of the head nurse. One day out of pure grey boredom he is allowed to use Lu's toys and makes a fantastic city. But the city becomes real, and Lu is trapped in it.

It sounds a lot better than it really is. It's horrifically cute, with so much nonsense and treacly Britishness that you risk diabetes reading it. There a...more
Kressel Housman
Jun 23, 2008 Kressel Housman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids, parents, fantasy lovers
E. Nesbit's work is about a hundred years old, which may make her a pioneer in the genre of children's fantasy. There's no doubt in my mind that she influenced JKR - this book even has a hippogriff! - and Edward Eager cites her often in his own books. In fact, his Knight's Castle is a variation on this very book.

Philip and Lucy are two kids who are brought together when his older sister and guardian marries her father. Lucy is open to friendship, but Philip is not. And when they find themselves...more
I swiped this book off my daughter's pile the other day. I am a life-long fan of E. Nesbit, and I was excited she had one I hadn't read. This is the story of a boy who builds a city out of toys and books, and the city comes to life. Only it just wasn't as magical as the other books I've read. It was a little ponderous and preachy, and didn't really have that light-hearted sense of humor and fun that I was hoping for.
The final title, in my search for all-time favourite books from childhood, is The Magic City. I remember reading this while lying on the floor in the lounge room, the rest of the family glued to the TV. My copy was a birthday gift and it had a pale blue hardback cover. The fantasy element in this story has stayed with me forever - building worlds and having adventures. What an incredible read for any child.
Delightful and imaginative. I really love E. Nesbit and can see how she fed the best children's fantasist ever - C.s. Lewis. The magic city is full of magic of course, but the relationships were a little too sweet and the lessons a little too pointed.
Aug 26, 2014 Jennifer is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librivox
This has been fun. It feels like a combination of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Indian in the Cupboard. I think kids today would really like it too. I know my boy (who loves to be a builder!) is going to love it some day.
This is one of those great children's books, where magic and adventure play a great role. A child becoming a part of the things he has built, playing with his toys that have become big... whose dream has it not been that toys come to life. Look only at Toy Story or more recently Ted, both movies with this theme.
A great book, an though it is perhaps dated, I think it is still a very good read for children... I believe it will inspire them to begin building things with their lego again!
Did you ever build a block city and imagine walking its streets? The Magic City is all that and more with Nesbit's characteristically real English children and fantasy creatures. I didn't really appreciate some of the Noah's Ark insinuations, but few authors equal this one in making children's play come alive. The narrative is fairly episodic. I found myself tiring of that, but perhaps I've read too many short stories recently. Quite charming.
I would probably give this 3 !/2 stars that would probably have been 4 stars had I read it rather than listening (as much as I could) with the kids while I tried to get them to do their chores. The basic idea is that the toys and books are made into a little city and then the kids get pulled into the city and have a grand adventure...a fun story if you are looking for a book to recommend to children or to read aloud together!
I randomly picked this one up at our local library for story time with my children. It's an old book so the chapters are longer than most modern works. There is some beautiful imagery in this story, and there were a few places that made me think of Narnia. I'm pretty sure Lewis would've read it. He seems to have read everything.

I'll probably read another of E. Nesbit's stories.
I can't believe that I missed out on E. Nesbit growing up! This book is inventive, magical (I guess that is probably obvious!), and incredibly funny. It also contains wonderful themes about community without being preachy. So far this is the only book by Nesbit I've read but I'm looking forward to reading the rest in the very near future!
First one child and then another shrinks to the size of a pretend city built of blocks and playthings together with odds and ends.
I love E. Nesbit. This is probably my second favourite of her books, and is especially great to read right before reading Edward Eager's Knight's Castle. I have all Nesbit's books on Kindle (hooray for free out-of-copyright books!) and so this can go to another home, introduce someone else to her works.
Maureen E
An unexpectedly lovely book. I’m working through Nesbit because I have only read her major books–The Treasure Seekers, etc. This one is on the fantastical side, but very beautifully written. It’s very predictable, but I felt that it was both of its time and still relevant to a modern audience.
started this because bbsitter said main character reminded her of my son - i hope it was just that the kid liked to build creations

never finished it - i have too many other books to read and was just not that interested (there are very few books that i start and don't finish...)
Meredith Henning
Violet's 2008-09 reading page:

Matthias' reading page: currently reading -

**Matthias' rating: 3 stars
One of Nesbit's weaker novels. I consider the Railway Children to be her best written book, followed by the Treasure Seekers series (the Treasure Seekers, the Wouldbegoods, etc...), then the Psammead series (Five Children and It, the Phoenix and the Carpet, and the Amulet).
Very cute story with a lot of intriguing twists and turns. It's a bit dated in terms of language, but easy enough to figure out what they mean. I'm a bit disappointed that I never came across this in my childhood, I would have adored it then too! Great for all ages!
Jul 20, 2008 Barbara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children of all ages
OOOH!! I loved this book. It's good old-fashioned fantasy of the best kind. It's all about imagination with a little bit of the usual difficulties thrown in and, of course, a very happy ending. If you are a Nesbit fan and haven't read this yet, please do.
Really fun book to read and I am surprised that it is not more widely recommended. I will say that it drags slightly in some parts, but the whole concept of the magic city is wonderfully done. Love it, and highly recommend reading to your children.
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Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connec...more
More about E. Nesbit...
The Railway Children Five Children and It (Five Children, #1) The Phoenix and the Carpet (Five Children, #2) The Enchanted Castle The Enchanted Castle & Five Children and It

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“Oh, Helen, I don't want to.'

'Then don't,' said Helen.

'Ah, but I do want to, too.'

'Then do,' said she.

'But don't you see, when you want to and don't want to at the same time, what are you to do? There are so many things to think of.'

'When it's like that, there's one thing you mustn't think of,' she said.

'What?' Philip asked.

'Yourself,' she said softly.”
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