A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Four spirited children find an enchanted ring and embark on magical adventures. The ring, though, seems to have a mind of its own, and never behaves as they expect it to, leading to danger, comedy, mystery, and even a little romance between the grown-up characters. Though a bit dated, Nesbit's book still casts a potent spell.
Is it any good?
Nesbit wrote "surely the most wonderful books in the world," according to fantasy author Edward Eager; the magic is still here, though it has dimmed a bit over time. Almost 100 years have gone by since Jimmy told Kathleen, "You're just like a girl," and modern readers who expect the boys to learn a lesson about their occasional sexist sneers will be disappointed. Still, for children who like to act out the stories they read, this is like a travel guide for the imagination.
Nesbit was a contemporary of Oz author L. Frank Baum, but her novels have an important difference: The magic takes place in the real world, leading to comical misunderstandings such as ringleader Gerald's absurd dialogue with one dreadfully refined Ugly Wugly. H.R. Millar's drawings extend the text well, giving believable and pleasing portraits of the characters and firmly establishing the Edwardian setting.