Did you know that C.S. Lewis was greatly influenced by E. Nesbit’s literature? He adopted a similar writing style and mannerism to hers. In fact, he went as far as to mention the children in this story, the Bastable children, in his book The Magician’s Nephew. ( Now you want to go back and read it, don’t you!).
So if you’re a Lewis fan, you’ll be delighted with this book and will enjoy discovering what aided his inspiration.
And if you’re not a Lewis fan, well, first you should take yourself in for a checkup because something is decidedly the matter with your composition, and secondly, you’ll still like this book because it’s about children who say the funniest of things, siblings who love each other and the odd situations they find themselves in.
Take, for instance, the time when all the children became shy in front of the old gentleman they owed so much too.
“Oh,” said Phyllis, “my heart’s thumping like a steam-engine – right under my sash, too.”
“Nonsense,” said Peter, “people’s hearts aren’t under their sashes.”
“I don’t care – mine is,” said Phyllis.
“If you’re going to talk like a poetry-book,” said Peter, “my heart’s in my mouth.”
“My heart’s in my boots – if you come to that,” said Roberta.
Or the time the children were invited to an awards ceremony for an act of bravery they performed and thought they might be given a medal.
“Perhaps it’ll be medals. Then when I’m very old indeed, I shall show them to my grandchildren and say, ‘We only did our duty,’ and they’ll be awfully proud of me.”
“You have to be married,” warned Phyllis, “or you don’t have any grandchildren.”
“I suppose I shall have to be married some day,” said Peter, “but it will be an awful bother having her round all the time. I’d like to marry a lady who had trances, and only woke up once or twice a year.”
“Just to say you were the light of her life and then go to sleep again. Yes. That wouldn’t be bad,” said Bobbie.
“When I get married,” said Phyllis, “I shall want him to want me to be awake all the time, so that I can hear him say how nice I am.”
“I think it would be nice,” said Bobbie, “to marry some one very poor, and then you’d do all the work and he’d love you most frightfully, and see the blue wood smoke curling up among the trees from the domestic hearth as he came home from work every night.”
Each of the children think their mother is a dear and love her to pieces. And who wouldn’t when she loves and cares for them so, holds up bravely while her husband is gone and works so hard writing stories so the children have food to eat and beds to sleep in.
She gives them such good advice too. When Peter is sad and asks if she would enjoy writing a story where they’re all together, Father too, she says:
“Don’t you think it’s rather nice to think that we’re in a book that God’s writing? If I were writing the book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right – in the way that’s best for us.”
“Do you really believe that, Mother?” Peter asked quietly.
“Yes,” she said, “I do believe it – almost always – except when I’m so sad that I can’t believe anything. But even when I can’t believe it, I know it’s true – and I try to believe it.”
It’s delightful. You and the children will like this one!
P.S. And if you are tempted to go read The Magician’s Nephew, you won’t have to read far to find where they’re mentioned. Really. But that’s the only clue I’ll give, Sherlock.
In this much-loved children’s classic first published in 1906, the comfortable lives of three well-mannered siblings are greatly altered when, one evening, two men arrive at the house and take their father away. With the family’s fortunes considerably reduced in his absence, the children and their mother are forced to live in a simple country cottage near a railway station. There the young trio — Roberta, Peter, and young Phyllis — befriend the porter and station master.
The youngsters’ days are filled with adventure and excitement, including their successful attempt to avert a horrible train disaster; but the mysterious disappearance of their father continues to haunt them.
The solution to that painful puzzle and many other details and events of the children’s lives come to vivid life in this perennial favorite, a story that has captivated generations of readers and, more recently, delighted television and movie audiences. In this inexpensive, unabridged edition, it will charm a whole new audience of young readers with its warmth and appeal.
Nothing to note.