Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Magic City by E. Nesbit

The Magic City (1910)

by E. Nesbit

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
319834,767 (3.87)9
  1. 20
    Knight's Castle by Edward Eager (Torikton, HollyMS)
    Torikton: Two excellent stories about children magically transported to a land of toys.
    HollyMS: Both works are stories that feature children visiting the lands of toys.
  2. 00
    Wings and the Child or, the Building of Magic Cities by E. Nesbit (muumi)
    muumi: The Magic City is a fantasy for children (and former children) about a boy and girl who build a city and enter it. Wings and the Child presents Nesbit's philosophy of childhood and ideas about why that kind of fantasy play is so important -- with photographs of component buildings, and an entire city, built by the author from the remarkable bric-a-brac of a Victorian home. The two books are complementary.… (more)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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 her own fairy tale dream-come-true, her romance with Lucy's father, and may not have been thinking fully clearly. 3 - Lucy is a very nice girl and Philip a whiny brat who would have been fine (during said honeymoon and after) if he'd simply tried to accept her overtures when they first met.

I believe the flaws are racism, sexism, imperialism, and too much topical slang. I just can't fully enjoy a story in which the only two lions of the kingdom are killed (rather than simply avoided), and in which the strong, smart, and brave girl has to constantly prove she's as capable as the bratty boy, and in which there are far too many references to characters as 'brown savages' etc., and in which there are many words that Nesbit meant to be colloquially appealing but are now difficult, such as 'bunked' for 'chickened out.'

Otoh, this story is interesting in that it attempts to be somewhat more plausible, giving it more of a science fiction vibe than a fantasy one. And the explanations are charmingly written. For example: We come here when we're too asleep to dream. You go through the dreams and come out on the other side where everything's real. That's here."" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
One of my absolutely favorite books as a child, partly because like the hero Philip I loved to build cities not only out of toy bricks but out of anything else available. In this story Philip by magic gets into a city he has build, along with a girl, Lucy (namesake and perhaps inspiration of Queen Lucy of Narnia, since C.S. Lewis said the Narnian children were influenced by Nesbit), and --accidentally-- their odious nursemaid. (Philip comes out of the city and has to choose to go back in by tears "Tears are very strong magic." --a line I have always remembered. It is said by Mr. Noah (originally the Noah in a Noah's Ark set, but animated as a wise guide to the children). The city has prophecies of the coming of two mythic figures, the Deliverer and the Destroyer. The Deliverer has a series of deeds to perform to earn the title, which Philip sets out to do, with Lucy's aid (originally they were not friends, but they become so.) The nursemaid also claims the Deliverership, and is known throughout the book as the Pretenderette (to the Claimancy of the Deliverership) , though as is remarked, the Claimancy of the Destroyership is also open.. Spoiler Warning. . Ultimately she calls in the barbarians from Caesar's Gallic Wars (one of the books of which the city is built) to seize power, but is defeated when Philip calls up Caesar himself and his legions. Yet Caesar greets the defeated Pretenderette with respect "I hail, madame, your courage." --part of that ethic of understanding for enemies that runs through Nesbit's work, and impressed me as a child. .
There are a lot of other psychologically sophisticated aspects of the story -- Philip's beloved elder sister Helen had marred Lucy's father, a situation he found hard to accept, but he is able to work through it with an encounter with Helen n an island they had invented together which he is finally able to give away. ( )
  antiquary | Oct 1, 2013 |
One of my favorite books of all time. Read it when I was around 12 and ten years later I still love it. There's so much imagination and adventure. I would recommend this book to people of any age. Yes, it's a children's book, but it's just too good to miss. ( )
  Abigayl | Jan 3, 2013 |
The Magic City is all about imagination and creativity. It's a wonderful story. ( )
  miskend | Oct 10, 2010 |
This is a very wonderful story full of magic and mystery. I would suggest ages 9-12 ( )
  BookBrook | Feb 15, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. Nesbitprimary authorall editionscalculated
Glassman, PeterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millar, H.R.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors




this book is dedicated


First words
Philip Haldane and his sister lived in a little red-roofed house in a little red-roofed town.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Available online at The Internet Archive:

Also available at Project Gutenberg:
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0929605535, Paperback)

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:58 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An extremely unhappy ten-year-old magically escapes into a city he has built out of books, chessmen, candlesticks, and other household items.

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
37 wanted3 free
1 pay
1 free

Popular covers


Average: (3.87)
1.5 1
2 2
2.5 1
3 14
3.5 1
4 14
5 16

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,064,663 books! | Top bar: Always visible