|Sparrow Tree Square age recommendation: 8-11
When Roger and Ann's father writes a play that will be performed in England, they are excited at the prospect of visiting the famous sites in that country. But they are soon disappointed to learn that their parents have other plans, and have arranged for them to stay with a family friend called Mrs. Whiton in an old house by the sea along with their cousins Jack and Eliza. The four children expect the worst, thinking that Mrs. Whiton, who writes children books, will want to spend the whole time analyzing them. But the children discover that there is perhaps more fun to be had in the rambling old house and its garden than they could ever find in London.
While exploring the garden one day, the children discover banks of many different kinds of thyme, a fragrant herb often used for cooking. This thyme, however, isn't the ordinary kind used to season food -- it has magical properties than enable the children to go on many adventures through various periods of history. With the guide of the Natterjack, a sort of a toad who can speak, the children get into many exciting and sometimes perilous situations.
This fantasy novel by Edward Eager was written as a sequel to Knight's Castle, reviewed in Sparrow Tree Square's September 2008 issue. Fans of Knight's Castle will be happy to delve into another story with Roger, Ann, Jack and Eliza, but the story stands alone and can be read before Knight's Castle. In fact, this was the first book by Edward Eager I ever read and remains one of my favorite children's fantasies. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes history, adventure, and of course, a little bit of magic.
Reviewed by Megan Friel
Also by Edward Eager: