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Author(s): E. Nesbit
This is the second book in the Psammead Trilogy, following Five Children and It.
'For the egg was now red-hot, and inside it something was moving. Next moment there was a soft cracking sound; the egg burst in two, and out of it came a flame-coloured bird...'
When a stone egg rolls out of the old rug that has been bought for the nursery, the children think nothing of it. A lovely glowing yellow, they place it on the mantelpiece to brighten up the room. But when the egg accidentally drops into the fire, a strange thing happens: out hatches a phoenix, resplendent in golden feathers - and very vain. If that weren't enough of a surprise, it tells them that their carpet is magic: it will take them to any place that they wish to visit - over their dusty London streets to the French coast, to tropical islands and an Indian bazaar. Guiding them throughout their adventures - though he's often more a hindrance than a help - is their new friend, the phoenix.
"Edith Nesbit, born in 1858, was more than a century older than I was, but the tone of her stories spoke to me directly, and as a writer for children, I have tried to remember how much I appreciated not being talked down to. The cheerful, child-centred anarchy of Five Children and It is still my inspiration and delight" - Kate Saunders
"I love her books - particularly the Five Children and It sequence" - Neil Gaiman
"My all-time favourite classic children's author" - Jacqueline Wilson
Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) is perhaps most famous for writing The Railway Children and Five Children and It, but she was extremely prolific and wrote or collaborated on more than sixty children's books. Nesbit is today recognised as one of the most influential and innovative children's writers that ever lived, and is cited as an inspiration by many contemporary authors, including J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Saunders and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Even C. S. Lewis acknowledged the debt his Narnia series owed to her work - particularly the Bastable and Psammead trilogies.