The Enchanted Castle Book Poster Image

The Enchanted Castle



Though dated, this still casts a potent spell.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The boys criticize Kathleen and Mabel for acting like girls. Gerald disguises himself for a fair by covering his face and arms with black lead (graphite) to appear Indian.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a classic, though slightly dated.

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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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of magic in the real world. Do you find this story very believable? How does it compare with the magic of Narnia, Oz, or Tolkien's Middle-earth? What elements do the different stories have in common?

Book details

Author:E. Nesbit
Illustrator:H. R. Millar
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1907
Number of pages:291

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Teen, 14 years old Written byPiperMaclain711 June 15, 2013

I don't get this book.

The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit is like some sort of cross between "Narnia" and "Lord of the Rings". There are several kisses in this book that the above review did not mention. Mable and Kathleen kiss in bed together, or to quote the book, "And the two girls kissed in the kind darkness." I'm not sure what this is implying-homosexuality? friendship?- but I think there was an "embrace" before the kiss. Even as a young child listening to this book, I found that a bit odd. Just something to think about. Also, I believe Jimmy kisses Mable's cheek when she's in the garden pretending to be the sleeping princess. Honestly, this book is weird. I loved it when I first read it, but even people who aren't Lewis or Tolkien fans will notice the similarities in the stories.
Adult Written byref April 9, 2008


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