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The Phoenix and the Carpet (Five Children, #2)
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The Phoenix and the Carpet (Five Children #2)

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4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,953 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
It's startling enough to have a phoenix hatch in your house, but even more startling when it talks and reveals that you have a magic carpet on the floor. The vain and ancient bird accompanies the children on a series of adventures through time and space. This book is a sequel to Five Children and It.
Paperback, 289 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Puffin (first published 1904)
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Manny
That evening, Mother read to them from a book called The Phoenix and the Carpet, which she had had since she was a little girl. Like all the best children's books, it was written to be read aloud; you immediately knew that Mrs. Nesbit had read it aloud to her own children, and every now and then she had put in a little joke for her husband, who was pretending to do something important but was really listening too.

Mrs. Nesbit had a wonderful imagination, and she also had a strong moral sense; so
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Anna Kļaviņa
Sadly, classism, sexism and racism did dampen my enjoyment of this otherwise fantastic children's book.
Jo
Jul 29, 2011 Jo rated it really liked it
"I daresay they're not real cats," said Jane madly, "Perhaps they're only dream-cats."
"I'll dream-cat you, my lady," was the brief response of the force."




In regards to this book, I'm going to write something so groundbreaking that I would be willing to bet lots and lots of metaphorical pounds on the fact that no one has ever said, written or even thought about this idea when they closed the pages of Ms Nesbit's wonderful book.

(view spoiler)
...more
Janelle
Delightful shenanigans with four children who are left home alone suspiciously often. I had considered only giving it four stars, due to frequent references to savages and naive notions about burglars. Not to mention comments that it's unmanly for boys to cry. But I just can't help myself. It's just too wonderful for four stars. Many thanks go to the Librivox narrator, Helen Taylor, for her beautiful reading.
Rebecca
Jul 24, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
Delightful Edwardian flying carpet larks. Second book in the 'Five Children and It' trilogy. The endearing 'n' pompous Phoenix is one of my favourite characters in literature.

*wipes tear*
Tocotin
Oh my! What's going on? It was one of my childhood favorites! OMG. These children are just beyond obnoxious. Their family is described as of moderate means, but they act like completely spoiled brats.

"'Is that being kind to servants and animals, like the clergyman said?' asked Jane."

They don't care for anyone else except themselves and their family. All the others are tools, or plainly invisible to them anyway. There is one nasty scene when they get home by mistake, when only the servants are su
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Richmonde
Nov 27, 2015 Richmonde rated it really liked it
I love the Phoenix, he is as vain as Hercule Poirot, but his self-esteem fades as the stories progress. I love his pedantic, precise voice, and the way he washes up the teacups. I agree with another reviewer that the cat episode is almost too painful to be entertaining. Another thing that strikes me when reading as an adult - how affectionate the family is. They are always hugging each other (though the boys think this is a bit soppy), they have warm and loving parents and an adorable baby broth ...more
C Hellisen
Jan 21, 2012 C Hellisen rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, own
While I really enjoyed the writing style of the book, especially the arch little comments on human behaviour, it was hard for me to get past the casual "oh those poor childish savages" racism inherent in books from this era.

I think when the Spawn read this, we'll have a little talk about the racism in books by writers like Nesbit, Blyton and Kipling, and what it says about humanity (and hopefully how we've moved on, at least a little.)
Brian
Jun 22, 2014 Brian rated it liked it
Don't read this expecting fantasy. It is more like farce or a comic, but Nesbit never fails to invent human characters and that is primarily what I really get out of her books. Even when including such an exotic animal as the Phoenix, she imbues him with a humorous sense of dignity and ceremony that causes no end of trouble for the children.

Every once in a while Nesbit writes a gem. One of my favorite insightful and thought-provoking ones was: "He felt that he was a blot on the smart beauty of t
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Alicia
Dec 24, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it
I heard (in a book about little-known classics) that this was a great Christmastime read-aloud. It did take place around Christmastime, but it's not about Christmas at all. Our family loved the first book of this trilogy (Five Children and It), and the Phoenix and the Carpet was almost as good. Nine-year-old Josh loved this book and can't wait to read the third book together. I enjoy E. Nesbit's writing; she is so clever and entertaining and we laughed through this book. Here's a part we enjoyed ...more
Melissa McShane
Jun 14, 2012 Melissa McShane rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, fantasy, young-adult
I don't like this one as much as Five Children and It, probably because where the Psammead is only grouchy and annoying, the Phoenix is self-centered to the point of getting the kids into trouble. The theme is the same as the first book: the children get three wishes a day from the magic carpet, and as usual their wishes go awry. My favorite of their adventures is where they're flying along, see a tower whose top is the same size as the carpet, and set down only to find that there's no actual ro ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Nov 05, 2015 Cynthia Egbert rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I read them out of order but it matters not, Nesbit charms at every level. If you have young children or if you are a soul who loves fairy tales, please read the adventures of these delightful children.
The quotes that caught my fancy:

"Father and mother had not the least idea of what had happened in their absence. This is often the case, even when there are no magic carpets or Phoenixes in the house."

"We mustn't expect old heads on young shoulders."

"Mother was really a great dear. She was pretty
...more
Catherine Gillespie
Jul 29, 2015 Catherine Gillespie rated it really liked it
If you liked Five Children and It (which of course you did, how could you not?) you will also like the reprise of the same family having adventures in The Phoenix and the Carpet, except this time instead of a Psammead they have adventures with…wait for it…a phoenix and a magic carpet. We really love these siblings now, and had great fun with this book as a bedtime read-aloud. I was wiser in my choice of a more sustainable voice for the Phoenix but the chapters in the book do run long. A few time ...more
Lindsay
Sep 05, 2012 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Her dry wit and observational humour makes these books very readable as an adult - much more like Richmal Crompton than Enid Blyton. Despite being written over a century ago this series is still so fresh and funny. Her warts-and-all portrayal of children is a lot more genuine than some other classics of the era.
Frances
Mar 21, 2014 Frances rated it liked it
This is the second in the series that began with Five Children and It. The five children- minus the participation, in most adventures, of the baby- have another series of adventures, this time with two magical creatures. The storytelling here is more uneven. I found some scenes, like the ritual ceremony of the insurance executives, and the basement full of kittens, absurdly funny. Other chapters, the ones involving the children's slaves, were uncomfortable. The children are very clearly portraye ...more
Tra-Kay
Mar 09, 2016 Tra-Kay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrensbooks
I liked "Five Children and It" a lot, but the addition of the Phoenix makes this one wildly enjoyable. The Psammead was fun because it was a grump and very sensitive about water and its whisker; the Phoenix is even better because it is a charming combination of vanity, wisdom, resourcefulness, grandiosity, kindness, and more. The mysterious character of the humble and obedient carpet, and its relationship with the Phoenix, adds yet another layer to the fun. The adventures in this one were also o ...more
NJ Wong
Mar 06, 2016 NJ Wong rated it really liked it
This is the sequel to "5 Children and It". The same children are featured, but not the Psammead. Instead, the children come across a magic carpet that can grant them 3 wishes per day (instead of the Psammead's one wish per day). Hence, the structure of the book follows very closely to the first book, detailing the children's adventures with their wishes.

However, in this book, the children also get to use their wishes for the good of others, which is much better story telling than the earlier one
...more
LobsterQuadrille
Apr 15, 2016 LobsterQuadrille rated it liked it
Recommends it for: E. Nesbit fans
The Phoenix and the Carpet was a nice light read for me, but I don't think it reaches the standard set by the previous book, Five Children and It. In terms of plot, the books are very similar, but I found The Phoenix and the Carpet less creative and not as interesting overall. I do like the characters, especially the Phoenix, but still didn't feel that it was as magical as the first book. The way the people of the tropical island and India are talked about definitely comes across as condescendi ...more
Matilda
Jul 05, 2015 Matilda rated it really liked it
In the second in the trilogy, Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother buy an enchanted wishing carpet! Cyril (also known as Squirrel), Anthea (known as Panther), Robert (Bobs), Jane (Pussy), and their brother (the Lamb) accidentally hatch a Phoenix egg in the fire which Bobs found in the carpet! The five children are overjoyed, but, as it is with magic, rarely everything goes as planned..

When the children wish for milk for the 199 Persian cats they had due to the wishing carpet, the
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Valerie
The phoenix, in its modesty, insists on being listed first, but its practical role is more of a translator. The phoenix does have magical powers, but they're more along the line of linguistic skill.

Frankly, the phoenix could have given better advice without much effort. It's too inclined to resort to tactics like blackmail.

This book is (not unexpectedly for its time) racist, classist, and even somewhat misogynistic (though the latter is more in the attitudes of the children themselves than elsew
...more
Laura Verret
Mar 08, 2011 Laura Verret rated it did not like it
The Phoenix was more likeable than the Psammead, but he was still too mythical for my liking. Also, this beginning interchange worries me.....

"'I wish they taught magic at school,' Jane sighed. 'I believe if we could do a little magic it might make something happen.'

'I wonder how you begin?' Robert looked round the room, but he got no ideas from the faded green curtains, or the drab Venetian blinds, or the worn brown oil-cloth on the floor. Even the new carpet suggested nothing, though its patte
...more
Drew
Dec 01, 2013 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The lesser-known sequel to Five Children and It turns out to be just as cheeky as the original (if not moreso), though the plot is essentially the same: four children (the baby comes into this story even less than he does in the first book) are given wishes, which don't quite turn out as expected. Instead of a Psammead, this book features a flying Wishing Carpet and a golden Phoenix who acts as a sort of middleman or go-between for the children and the carpet.

The Phoenix is just as singular a
...more
Hollowspine
Aug 20, 2014 Hollowspine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
After reading Five Children and It, I was compelled to find out if more stories about the five children existed and soon enough here I am reading the Phoenix and the Carpet, which stars the same five children, though this one concentrates mainly on the older four, who discover, in the folds of their new nursery carpet a beautiful egg, which ends up in the coals of the fireplace during some small scuffle. Thus is reborn the Phoenix, who informs the children about the magic qualities of their carp ...more
Gale
DELIGHTFUL PERSIAN BLEND!

Children might be tempted to believe that there are Wish Granters floating about--if one can only Find them! This fanciful tale is set in Victorian England--an era of gas jets, scullery maids and coal hobs. Four children (as in THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE) discover a special fire egg which hatches in their nursery fireplace. Then their mother purchases a Persian carpet, which provides the vehicle for Space (if not Time) Travel. The Persian rug even responds to
...more
Chris
Jun 17, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, nesbit
The common advice to would-be fiction authors is to “write about what you know”. A phoenix and a flying carpet aren’t of course really within one’s everyday experience, but at heart the events that take place and many of this fantasy’s settings are taken from real life, a fair few of which hark back to Nesbit’s own childhood in the Victorian period.

The reminiscences in Long Ago When I Was Young, though only first published as a collection in 1966, were serialised before Nesbit embarked on her ca
...more
East Bay J
Dec 06, 2011 East Bay J rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
What a delightful surprise. I picked this up on a whim and it turned out to be a well written and endearing children's story about four siblings who discover a phoenix and a magic carpet, sending them off on the most extraordinary adventures.

However, I must point out a few things that you may wish to consider before reading this to your little ones. First off, Edith Nesbit was a bigot. It's nothing too blatant but it's there, whether she's referring to Africans as "savages" or having the phoenix
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Brandi
Feb 16, 2016 Brandi rated it really liked it
The Phoenix and the Carpet is the imaginative (and witty) second book of the Psammead series. Like Five Children and It, it tells the adventures of four children (sometimes five) who face the consequences of the many choices they make.

For those of you who've read Harry Potter, the phoenix in this book is very different than Fawkes. It doesn't have healing powers, and indeed, I think it'd be utterly revolted if it were made into a pet. But don't worry - it's a very unique bird; in fact, it would
...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 14, 2013 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

The Phoenix and the Carpet is Edith Nesbit’s sequel to Five Children and It, a collection of charming children’s stories published in 1902 which told how five siblings discovered a sand fairy which granted them a wish each day and how the children kept bungling what they wished for.

In The Phoenix and the Carpet, the children accidentally set fire to their nursery (while playing with fireworks!) and a new carpet must be brought in. This, unbeknownst to their parents, i
...more
Jessica
Mar 08, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
Afternoon read-aloud selection. K gave it a 3. L gave it a 2 ("not enough plot, not enough Phoenix"). I also give it a 2. I think if we were living in 1904, reading it as a new best-seller, we would have rated it much more highly. Unfortunately we're modern readers and our experience of this book suffered for that--too many of the jokes fell flat, too many of the touchstones unfamiliar.

Oh-L saw me flipping through this book to write up this blurb and said "I liked that book, I change my mind. I
...more
Fantasy Literature
Oct 10, 2013 Fantasy Literature rated it really liked it
Shelves: kat
The Phoenix and the Carpet is Edith Nesbit’s sequel to Five Children and It, a collection of charming children’s stories published in 1902 which told how five siblings discovered a sand fairy which granted them a wish each day and how the children kept bungling what they wished for.

In The Phoenix and the Carpet, the children accidentally set fire to their nursery (while playing with fireworks!) and a new carpet must be brought in. This, unbeknownst to their parents, is an enchanted carpet which
...more
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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
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More about E. Nesbit...

Other Books in the Series

Five Children (3 books)
  • Five Children and It (Five Children, #1)
  • The Story of the Amulet (Five Children, #3)

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