Books

The Lark

E. Nesbit

'A charming and brilliantly entertaining novel... shot through with the light-hearted Nesbit touch' Penelope Lively, from the introduction

"When did two girls of our age have such a chance as we've got - to have a lark entirely on our own? No chaperone, no rules, no..."
"No present income or future prospects," said Lucilla.

It's 1919 and Jane and her cousin Lucilla leave school to find that their guardian has gambled away their money, leaving them with only a small cottage in the English countryside. In an attempt to earn their living, the orphaned cousins embark on a series of misadventures - cutting flowers from their front garden and selling them to passers-by, inviting paying guests who disappear without paying - all the while endeavouring to stave off the attentions of male admirers, in a bid to secure their independence.

The Phoenix and the Carpet

E. Nesbit

‘Rain, rain, go away,’ said Anthea; ‘but it never DOES go’

I expect you know how boring it can be to stay indoors on rainy days. it was on one of those dull days that the five children accidentally set their nursery on fire (with fireworks). No one thought that that disastrous day would bring the start of new adventures.

But the new nursery carpet, when it arrives, comes with something odd wrapped inside it: an enormous glowing egg. And inside is the most beautiful bird you’ve ever seen – in fact, not a bird: a noble and fabulous phoenix. New adventures just might have begun…

Includes exclusive content: In the Backstory you can ponder what you would wish for and find out which character you most resemble!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Enchanted Castle

E. Nesbit

'If we were in a book it would be an enchanted castle - certain to be'

When Jerry, Jimmy and Kathleen are forced to spend their entire summer at school they don't imagine they will have a particularly interesting time. But that's before they stumble upon a mysterious castle set in beautiful, abandoned gardens. Could this really be an enchanted castle? Don’t be a duffer, there’s no such thing. But with the air thick with magic, the sun blazing down, and a maze hiding a sleeping girl at its centre, the holidays might just be looking up...

Includes exclusive content: In the Backstory you can find out more about the author and take the Enchanted Castle quiz!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Horror Stories

E. Nesbit

A groom promises to be at the church on time, even if he has to come back from the grave to do it.

A man inherits a property where he discovers a portrait of a woman that will change his life forever.

Two newlyweds find their dream country cottage, unaware of an ancient curse from the previous owners.

A gripping, unsettling and utterly chilling collection of short stories from one of Britain's best loved storytellers.

Five Children and It

E. Nesbit

E. Nesbit's original story, now with a brand new cover by Nick Sharratt to accompany Jacqueline Wilson's number one bestselling sequel Four Children and It. Jacqueline Wilson is the multi-award winning, phenomenally successful creator of Tracy Beaker, Hetty Feather and Lily Alone.

When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother go digging in the gravel pit, the last thing they expect to find is a Psammead - an ancient Sand-fairy! Having a Sand-fairy for a pet means having one wish granted each day. But the children don't realize all the trouble wishes can cause . . .

This book is also available as an audio download or CD, read by Samantha Bond.

The Railway Children

E. Nesbit (and others)

The abridged, downloadable audiobook edition of E. Nesbit's classic The Railway Children, brilliantly read by the acress Jenny Agutter.

When Father is taken away unexpectedly, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis and their mother have to leave their comfortable life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country. The children seek solace in the nearby railway station and make friends with Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. Each day, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis run down the field to the railway track and wave at the passing London train, sending their love to Father. Little do they know that the kindly old gentleman passenger who waves back holds the key to their father's disappearance.

The Railway Children

E. Nesbit

When Father is taken away unexpectedly, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis and their mother have to leave their comfortable life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country. The children seek solace in the nearby railway station, and make friends with Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. Each day, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis run down the field to the railway track and wave at the passing London train, sending their love to Father. Little do they know that the kindly old gentleman passenger who waves back holds the key to their father's disappearance.

Includes an introduction by Jacqueline Wilson, as well as a literary guide and glossary in the endnotes. Illustrated by C.E. Brock.

Five Children and It

E. Nesbit (and others)

When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother go digging in the gravel pit, the last thing they expect to find is a Psammead – an ancient sand-fairy! Having a sand-fairy for a pet means having one wish granted each day. But the children don't realize all of the trouble wishes can cause . . .

Read by 007 star, Samantha Bond.

Five Children and It

E. Nesbit (and others)

When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother go digging in the gravel pit, the last thing they expect to find is a Psammead – an ancient Sand-fairy! Having a Sand-fairy for a pet means having one wish granted each day. But the children don't realize all the trouble wishes can cause . . .

A timeless classic with an introduction by Quentin Blake, award-winning illustrator and first-ever Children's Laureate (1999–2001).

The Railway Children

E. Nesbit

When Father mysteriously goes away, the children and their mother leave their happy life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country. 'The Three Chimneys' lies beside a railway track - a constant source of enjoyment to all three. They make friends with the Station Master and Perks the Porter, as well as the jovial 'Old Gentleman' who waves to them everyday from the train. But the mystery remains: where is Father, and will he ever return?

The Railway Children

E. Nesbit (and others)

Paul Copley and Timothy Bateson star in a BBC Radio full-cast dramatisation of E. Nesbit's enchanting and unforgettable classic. Roberta, Peter and Phyllis lead an ordinary suburban life with Mother and Father, enjoying trips to the zoo and the pantomime. But when Father is mysteriously taken away one night, everything changes. The children must move to the country, to a little white cottage near the railway line, where eventually they find that there are plenty of adventures to be had and friends to be made - including Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. But the mystery remains - what has happened to Father, and will he come back? The story of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis and their life in the country has never been out of print since it was first published in 1906. Charming, sentimental and unforgettable, the novel retains all its enchantment and enduring appeal in this BBC Radio full-cast dramatisation.

The Enchanted Castle

E. Nesbit (and others)

E. Nesbit's classic story of how Gerald, Cathy and Jimmy find an enchanted garden and awake a princess from a hundred-year sleep, only to have her immediately made invisible by a magic ring. Her rescue is difficult, funny and sometimes frightening.

The Story of the Amulet

E. Nesbit (and others)

At the end of Five Children and It the five children promised not to ask the Psammead for another wish as long as they lived, but expressed a half wish to see it again some time. They find 'it' again in a pet shop in Camden Town, and their magic adventures start over again.

'It' leads them to a magic amulet - half of it actually - which they use it to try and find the other half. It takes them back to ancient Egypt and Babylon. The Queen of Babylon visits them in London, bringing all her ancient customs with her - which is awkward. They visit the lost continent of Atlantis. They see Julius Caesar in the flesh. But none of these adventures run smoothly, and if they forget the 'word of power' or lose the amulet, what in the world will happen to them?

The Story of the Treasure Seekers

E. Nesbit (and others)

When their father's business fails, the six Bastable children decide to restore the family fortunes. But although they think of many ingenious ways to do so, their well meant efforts are either more fun than profitable, or lead to trouble...

The Phoenix and the Carpet

E. Nesbit (and others)

Puffin Classics bring together the very best children's stories for a whole new generation. In this sequel to FIVE CHILDREN AND IT, the magical adventures of siblings Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother continue.
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 which, magic being what it is, rarely turn out as they were meant . . .

Introduced by award-winning fantasy writer, Robin McKinley.

Biography

Edith Nesbit was born in 1858. Her father died when she was only three and so her family moved all over England. Poverty was something she had known first hand, both as a child and as a young married woman with small children. Like the Railway Childrens' Mother, she was forced to try and sell her stories and poems to editors. Her first children's book, The Treasure Seekers, was published in 1899. She also wrote Five Children and It but her most famous story is The Railway Children which was first published in 1905 and it hasn't been out of print since. Edith Nesbit was a lady ahead of her time - she cut her hair short, which was considered a very bold move in Victorian times, and she was a founding member of a group that worked towards improvements in politics and society called The Fabian Society. She died in 1924.