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

(Five Children #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  8,800 ratings  ·  236 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. ...more
Paperback, 289 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Puffin (first published 1904)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  8,800 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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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
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Did not like this book as much as 'Five Children and It'. I felt the children had better adventures in the first book with the Psammead than they did with the Phoenix or the carpet....I guess they made better wishes in the first book than the second. ...more
Anna Kļaviņa
Sadly, classism, sexism and racism did dampen my enjoyment of this otherwise fantastic children's book. ...more
Jul 23, 2011 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)
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
This is the second book in the Five Children series, but actually the last one I read, after the Amulet and then Five Children and It. I think this was the strongest book in the series with the most interesting plotline, and I recommend the whole series as a nice bit if early 20th-century sci fi/fantasy.
Apr 08, 2008 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*
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Fine, and a fun premise, but a little overrated for Nesbit. The plot is episodic and bumpy. The protagonists are rather spoiled, semi-neglected, un-self-aware children who don't experience character growth during the story. The Phoenix is an interesting fellow, but entirely too passive to drive the show through enigmatic magnetism or, apparently, any motivating desires of his own. Both the Phoenix and the Carpet seemed to have shown up solely to entertain a set of mildly bored children. Would ha ...more
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. ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another lovely magical family friendly book in the Five Children series. Full of more adventures, magic, wishes and magical creatures. Plus Five Children getting up to more antics and seemingly forever hungry.
C Hellisen
Jan 20, 2012 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.)
James Gibson
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Had to read Five Children and It as part of my degree and loved it, and seeing as it’s the first in a trilogy it felt silly not to read the other two.
Lucy Fisher
Nov 27, 2015 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
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
Nov 21, 2010 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
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vacation
I'm glad I went back after reading The Story of the Amulet to the other two books in the series, even though I think "Amulet" is the best of the three. I think they get better as they go on, with the first feeling more like a series of mini-adventures and the third having more of a connected plot.

This one is in the middle: The children have both a phoenix (The Phoenix, more correctly) and a wishing carpet that will take them anywhere (or, as they later learn, bring them things from far away). An
Aug 31, 2011 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
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Oh how I would love to enjoy this book as much as I did as a child!

This is a really fun little book about a group of children who come across a phoenix egg and a magic carpet. They go on all sorts of grand adventures and get into no end of trouble. There are moral lessons and plenty of funny moments and the writing is made specifically to be read aloud, but...

I'm not comfortable reading this book to my children without prefacing it with "this book is old and says a lot which isn't nice nor accur
Jun 22, 2014 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
Whilst I've put this in my Childhood Favourites folder, I never actually read it as a child, but I've begun a project to read all the books in my childhood bookshelves...

It is important to note, this book has not aged well. When reading to a modem child, you would need to prepare a discussion afterwards about why we don't call people of colour 'savages', or talk to servants as though they were subhuman anymore.

That said, it is an innovative adventure story of its time, and would be an interesti
Melissa McShane
Jun 14, 2012 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
So this is a direct sequel to 'Five Children and It', so if you havn't read that, this might seem a bit odd in places.
I think i rated both books the same, this is superior in places but has a harder time trying to find reasons for things to happen and struggles to avoid repeating itself.
There's some jokes which might appeal to adults rather than kids in places so not a terrible thing if your reading it to someone.
Overall not a huge fan but entertaining enough. I listened to some of it on a ver
Aug 11, 2012 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.
Aug 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps my favorite of this trilogy - I like the magic carpet, which becomes worn at the edges as it transports the children, and the melancholy Phoenix. But I never understood how Anthea could rhyme with Panther!
Kate Forsyth
Feb 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Another old childhood favourite, filled with humour, adventure & magic. My favourite line: ‘Every eye was a-goggle; every mouth a-gape.’
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
Listened on audible with the kids. Good fun for us all!
Lynda Breithaupt-Muenzer
Nesbit, Edith. The Phoenix and the Carpet. (1904) Target Audience: 5-12. This children's fantasy novel surprised me with its imaginative, magical adventures. That is because of my own ignorance of Edith Nesbit's contributions to children's literature. I really enjoyed her narrative style and found myself laughing out loud at her wit and British phraseology. It's also noticed and recognized that this book comes from an era of stereotypes, racism and assumptions that might not be as well received ...more
Rosemary Standeven
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved E Nesbit as a child, and “Five Children and It” was one of my favourite books. “The Phoenix and the Carpet” did not have quite as big an influence on me, and I did not remember much of the story, though I must have read several times before.
As with the Psammead, in the Phoenix the author has created a truly wonderful magical being. The Phoenix is polite, helpful and patient, while at the same time being immeasurably vain (but then he has a lot to be vain about). The visit to his London “
Anna  Zehr
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The characters in this book are quirky and fun. You just gotta love an erudite and self-important phoenix. And an unreliable carpet full of both holes and magic.

Most fantasy books with magical elements use the magic to set the characters on a journey, exterior as well as interior. Nesbit's plots certainly allow for the interior journey as her characters find clarity in their values of home and family. But an interesting feature of Nesbit's books lies in the ridiculous and uncomfortable situatio
Shawn Thrasher
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The five children from Nesbit's Five Children and It find a phoenix and a magic wishing carpet, and similar hilarity to their previous jaunt ensues. While not quite as strong as the first - the phoenix is not quite as fun as the psammead - there is still Nesbit's signature sharp humor and sense of fun. I definitely always think she's ahead of her time as a writer. There is nothing treacly or good-two-shoes about Nesbit's writing; if there are morals, they are not in your face. Five Children and ...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 co

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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