Plot Summary: Roger and Ann spend another exciting summer vacation with their cousins Jack and Eliza! When the foursome are sent to a country estate near Boston while their parents conduct business in England, they are disappointed to miss all the excitement. But then they discover a magical thyme garden and a talking Natterjack, which grants them all their time-traveling wishes (or, almost). From midnight rides with Paul Revere to the court of Queen Elizabeth I,– even an adventure with the March sisters!,– there are no limits to their fun this summer!
My Book Review: If you’ve been around this blog very long, you’ll know I adore the Half Magic series by Edward Eager. They definitely are some of my all-time favorite books, registering in my Top Ten favorites. The Time Garden was no exception. So far in the series, I probably like it best next to Knight’s Castle.
The thing I most appreciate about Edward Eager is his realistic portrayal of the children and the wonderful dialogue they have. Then, of course there’s the crazy-fun adventures they have and there seems to be no end to Eager’s imagination. I always have several good laughs while reading these books! My favorite part probably had to be when the children go ‘back in time’ to visit Little Women (and if you argue that this isn’t realistic, I’ll argue that in magic books anything’s possible!). It’s sort of similar to the fact that I love Knight’s Castle (#2 in this series) best because the same children visit the characters of Ivanhoe in the magic city they create. It was also fun how Eager creatively tied this book with Magic By the Lake (#3).
If you fall into the PC camp, you may not like these. I had to laugh a bit because I know this book would never in a million years have been written and published today (it was originally printed in 1958). The children are carried back in time by means of the magical leaves of thyme which they sniff and inhale the scent of. But it was all written innocently with no hidden connotations of drugs and is not meant to be read with your tennis shoes tied too tightly, if you know what I mean. Sometimes we overthink things way too much and forget to have fun.
Another note: To enjoy this children’s book fully, one must know their history and classic literature well, or else one might feel like the book was written only for the ‘insiders.’
I know his stories are knock-offs of E. Nesbit’s books, but I discovered Eager first and will always love him. If you haven’t discovered these books yet, please give them a try, no matter what age you are! They are also wonderful books to read aloud as a family.