Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Magic city” as Want to Read:
The Magic city
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

The Magic city

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,321 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
When young Philip Haldane builds a play city out of odds and ends, the fantastic creation comes to life, and he and new stepsister Lucy are magically transported into it. Now they must try to save the Magic City by fulfilling an ancient prophecy--despite a mysterious adversary determined to steal their glory for herself. How Philip and Lucy come to forge a friendship and t ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Chronicle Books (first published 1910)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Magic city, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Magic city

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 11, 2009 Manny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
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
Apr 21, 2015 Mangrii rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este clásico infantil y su autora, Edith Nesbit, me resultaban totalmente desconocidos hasta el momento, pero de la que ya me declaro seguidor, y tengo ganas de leer alguna obra más.
Me ha parecido una historia llena de magia y fantasía, que tiene por protagonistas a dos niños; Philip y Lucy, que hacen que la historia tenga tintes de ternura, con los que yo he conectado sacando mi niño aventurero interior. La historia, orientada claramente a un público más infantil, es narrada en tercera persona,
Valerie Kyriosity
Feb 07, 2015 Valerie Kyriosity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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.
Jun 21, 2012 Ania rated it really liked it  ·  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
Julie Davis
Dec 07, 2015 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've known for some time that C.S. Lewis loved E. Nesbit's children's stories. Recently I have come across a lot of varied authors upon whom Nesbit was an influence. And then I read Gore Vidal's essay about Nesbit as the best of English fabulists who wrote about children, but not for children (an important distinction, with his own endorsements.
As it is, the absence of imagination is cruelly noticeable at every level of the American society, and though a reading of E. Nesbit is hardly going to c
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
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
Bish Denham
Feb 20, 2015 Bish Denham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
I savored this, taking my time reading it. So delightful. It reminded me L. Frank Baum's Oz and certainly Nesbit could have made a series out the idea. I wanted it to go on and on. I liked Philip and Lucy's relationship, how it evolves and I liked how Nesbit gives her female characters some spunk, smarts and bravery. All around charming!
♥Magic Wonderland☯♥☮
Feb 21, 2016 ♥Magic Wonderland☯♥☮ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans and Fans of Diana Wynne Jones
This is a magical Fantasy novel from Edith Nesbit and the only book that looked, felt and read to me as the best book well written by her to me..

Some of her books didn't took my fancy or interested me by the topics.
But this one is about a child's imagination and how his imagination and creation can become true.

I really enjoyed this one.
Jan 29, 2015 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
This was an enjoyable read, but somewhat dated. It reminded me an awful lot of The Phantom Toolbooth, but given the publication date was around 1910, clearly it was the blueprint. Parts were predictable, the climax was over too quickly, and the resolution was rushed.
Jan 03, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-alouds, 2016
Such a fun book! I have loved it for years, & it has worked well as read-aloud for all 3 of my children at various ages. Can completely see the influence on C.S. Lewis.
Dec 19, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adorable. We need to read everything else she wrote immediately.
Oct 05, 2016 Licette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun adventure with lots of drama and make-believe brought to life.
Cynthia Egbert
May 03, 2015 Cynthia Egbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Nesbit does it again for me. I love this book so much. The idea of imagination being what saves a child and makes him find peace and comfort in his life is beautiful, even perfect. There are moments in this book that feel like Gulliver's Travels and I even have to think that C.S. Lewis read and was influenced by her works because there are also moments that feel Narnia like here and this book came first. I cannot recommend this one highly enough, even if she doesn't care for Americans, which you ...more
Oct 30, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
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
May 19, 2014 Gale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
D.M. Dutcher
Apr 02, 2012 D.M. Dutcher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kressel Housman
Jun 23, 2008 Kressel Housman rated it really liked it  ·  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
Apr 06, 2009 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
E.Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle is one of my favorites for its wonderful mix of realistic Edwardian children embarking on amusing magical adventures. This one has many of the features that make Nesbit a delight: real-world children who behave like children and have some depth and character development, adults who are mostly absent, and of course magic. In this one, Philip's older sister who raised him gets married, and Philip must contend with a new household, a new stepsister, and a 'dreadful' ...more
Sheetal Dash
Sep 18, 2014 Sheetal Dash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edith Nesbit uses the most ordinary details of life to make you feel like you are present in the lives of the characters in her book. You are present at the table where the bacon fat has gone grey on the plate because Philip isn't hungry. He's feeling uneasy because an unknown man has befriended his sister and he senses that not everything is OK. The reader is seeing the world through Philip's eyes so you share that sense of uneasiness and it makes you want to turn the page to see if the concern ...more
An Odd1
Sep 26, 2013 An Odd1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jun 07, 2015 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had I discovered this book as a child, I would have cried "Hazaah - she has read my mind!" E. Nesbit (Edith, actually) crafted a tale so full of a child's imagination and one that would kick start the imagination of any child who had yet to discover just what that word meant. For me, this was the story of childhood, and a telling of a "what if" that I used to wonder about.

I don't know what was more interesting to me as an adult - reading the book or reading the Afterword and learning more about
Catherine Gillespie
As we are seriously devoted E. Nesbit groupies around here, we were of course predisposed to be fond of The Magic City as a family read-aloud. If you can find a version with the original illustrations go for that–it’s worth it. In this story, two children who love to build cities and worlds actually find themselves transported into those cities and tasked with quests and adventures. Even as an adult I have to confess that I read this book and LONGED to get to explore the various dolls houses and ...more
The audio version of this book narrated by Ruth Golding is a tour de force. She does all the voices. All of them.

The book itself is a good E. Nesbit fantasy, a bit weighed down with extraneous detail- and, as in any good book, many details that turn out to be important several chapters later. The explanation of how the magic city works requires some suspension of disbelief, and not the fun kind involving talking animals. If you can ignore the things that don't quite make sense or contradict each
Mar 01, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth-ya
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.
Jesús Cardeña Morales
Me ha gustado más que Los chicos del ferrocarril. Al menos los protagonistas de esta historia no son medio tontos como en el otro.
Me ha recordado mucho la historia a El pequeño Nemo, y todo lo que va creando el nño con su imaginación y construyendo sus ciudades imaginarias me ha gustado mucho. El personaje de la Aspirantesa me ha parecido muy gracioso y original.
Me gustaría que se publicaran más libros de Nesbit en nuestro país, a ver si hay suerte...
Nov 09, 2014 D.M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I know it was written over a 100 years ago. But still there was little to entice me with this fantasy children's book. I liked parts, I liked the building of the city and I liked moments when the children are in the world they created. But ultimately it was very lack luster. A product of it's time perhaps, but there are other books just as old, or even older that I thoroughly loved. I doubt I'll ever return to this.
Jul 16, 2014 Shannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014, fantasy
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.
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!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2)
  • The Reluctant Dragon
  • Treasure of Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #2)
  • The Little Bookroom
  • The Diamond in the Window (Hall Family Chronicles, #1)
  • Granny's Wonderful Chair
  • The Picts & the Martyrs or Not Welcome at All (Swallows and Amazons, #11)
  • The Witch Family
  • Once on a Time
  • Sky Island
  • Linnets and Valerians
  • The Court of Stone Children
  • The Light Princess and Other Fairy Stories
  • Time at the Top
  • Far to Go
  • The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root
  • Fifty-One Tales
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 about E. Nesbit...

Share This Book

“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.”
“And it's no use putting her on her honour, because——'
'Because she hasn't any,' Philip finished.
'I wouldn't say that,' said the parrot, 'of anybody. I'd only say we haven't come across it.”
More quotes…