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The Phoenix and the Carpet (Five Children #2)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  7,277 Ratings  ·  137 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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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
Anna Kļaviņa
Sadly, classism, sexism and racism did dampen my enjoyment of this otherwise fantastic children's book.
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)
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
I loved this book and the series as a young girl. This book transported me with its imaginative plot and made me want to be one of the lucky children on a magic carpet!

It's one of those timeless children's books that I hope children may still read today. Up there with books like The Famous Five by Enid Blyton and the Trixie Belden series.

One of my all time favourite books as an avid younger reader. 5 magical stars for entertainment, great plot, magic and characters.
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.
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 ...more
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
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.)
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
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
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.
Keertana Pillai
Oct 28, 2016 Keertana Pillai rated it really liked it
The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit, is the first of its kind, in the Fantasy genre, arriving years before the Lord of the Rings series or the Narnia series or the all-time favourite, the Harry Potter series.
E. Nesbit wonderfully relates the fascinating and spellbinding adventures of the children Cyril, Andrea, Jane, Robert and the Lamb in this book and its prequel and sequel.
The children are trying out fireworks obtained at a cheap price so as not to be "embarrassed" in front of the neighb
Nia F. S. Kartadilaga
n this second adventure of Five Children -- Robert, Anthea, Jane, Cyril's, and Baby Lamb, they are beginning to miss their magical adventures. They then are playing along in their nursery home, but it leads them to ruin a carpet. Their mom buy a new Persian rug and it turns out to be a magic-wishing carpet, in which they can have three wishes per day, and there was an egg of Phoenix rolled up in the rug as well. It's a funny and heartwarming book, filled with hilarious and very inspiring...
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
Oct 21, 2016 Ella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read which would probably actually be enjoyable for children (take note, Mr Kingsley).
Sep 17, 2016 Jingle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics

Warning: May contain spoilers!

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Writing Format: 3rd Person POV, Past Tense


' "I must get rid of that carpet at once," said mother.

But what the children said in sad whispers to each other, as they pondered over last night's events, was -

"We must get rid of that Phoenix." '

When I first read Five Children and It, I had been entranced by how the children played together, took care of each other and got into all their scrapes. However, when I got down to reading the sequel it felt
Oct 08, 2016 Mell rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, for-kids
Reading children's books for my bookclub has made me fondly remember favorites from my own childhood. I still own this one.
Leila Bowers
Sep 28, 2016 Leila Bowers rated it liked it
I agree with other reviewers that this novel lacked the whimsy and thrill of Five Children and It. Though my eight-year-old daughter enjoyed it, she did not love it nor beg me to read it to her every day. I can't quite put my finger on the difference - perhaps this is more controlled and less imaginative.
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
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
Sep 20, 2016 Nat rated it liked it
The self-involvement of the children and their disregard for others beyond their family makes them quite unlikeable. Some of their misadventures are funny and interesting but others drag on.
Aug 05, 2016 Emma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
'The Phoenix and the Carpet' is a childhood classic that many of us know and love. It follows on from 'Five Children and It', showing the lives of five siblings as they unexpectedly find themselves in possession of a carpet that grants wishes. The carpet comes with a phoenix egg which soon hatches into a brilliant (and conceited) Phoenix. This is a story full of magic, quests and good deeds; one that everybody should read at least once in their lifetime.

I've read 'The Phoenix and the Carpet' lon
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

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
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
Sep 09, 2016 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The continuing adventures and misadventures of the five children from The Five Children and It. This story focuses around their discovery of a magic wishing carpet and a phoenix, and all the troubles (and joys) the two things cause them all.

This story really reads like it should be read aloud a chapter at a time as bedtime stories. All the chapters tie together well enough, but each on it's own is a sort of mini story, so could be a useful resource for reluctant readers, though the style of Eng

Matilda Rose
Jul 05, 2015 Matilda Rose 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
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 ...more
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
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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 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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