The Time Garden

The Time Garden

5.0 6
by Edward Eager, N. M. Bodecker

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When wishing for magic, it's hard not to wish for too much. If Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha had stopped to think--oh, if they had only stopped to think!--they would have ordered magic by the pound, or by the day, or even by the halves as they had in Half Magic. But no, they asked for magic by the lake--and now they have to deal with a whole lakeful of enchantment…  See more details below


When wishing for magic, it's hard not to wish for too much. If Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha had stopped to think--oh, if they had only stopped to think!--they would have ordered magic by the pound, or by the day, or even by the halves as they had in Half Magic. But no, they asked for magic by the lake--and now they have to deal with a whole lakeful of enchantment! Soon the children are awash in magic. They find themselves cavorting with mermaids, outwitting pirates, and--with the help of a cranky old turtle--granting a little magical help to the one person who needs it most.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This re-release of a forty-year-old fantasy brings Eager's imaginative time travel tale to a new audience. The magical thyme garden transports two sets of sibling cousins to far away places and real and mythical eras. Escorted by the toadlike Natterjack, the children visit Salem; Elizabethan England; a cannibal island; and the March's home in Concord, Massachusetts. The adventures seem surprisingly fresh and are less politically incorrect than expected, having originated in the fifties. The Bodecker illustrations retain their original charm, and are supplemented with cover art by Quentin Blake. A delightful diversion for adults to revisit with their favorite young reader.
Children's Literature - Cheryl Peterson
"Be careful what you wish for" is an appropriate cliché for this story of four siblings who are vacationing near a lake full of magic. Jane, Mark, Katherine, and Martha spend the summer trying to tame the lake's magic with the help of a cranky old turtle, and find themselves swimming with mermaids and escaping from pirates. The children finally decide to use their magic to help someone close to them. Told with wit and humor, this story is lighter and less thought provoking than Tuck Everlasting, but is based on a similar theme of having too much of a good thing. One note of caution: originally published in 1957, one chapter finds Martha on an island with natives who are cannibals and speak an abbreviated form of English ("smallum, girlum, fattum," etc.) This portrays a negative stereotype that young readers (or parents and teachers) may find offensive. 1999 (orig.
From the Publisher

"This delectable tale, with its play on words, wonderful puns, high-quality wit, and fantasy, [is] a treasure indeed." 
San Francisco Chronicle

"Full of humor and ingenious fantasy." 
—The Horn Book

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Tales of Magic Series, #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.58(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

EDWARD EAGER (1911–1964) worked primarily as a playwright and lyricist. It wasn't until 1951, while searching for books to read to his young son, Fritz, that he began writing children's stories. His classic Tales of Magic series started with the best-selling Half Magic, published in 1954. In each of his books he carefully acknowledges his indebtedness to E. Nesbit, whom he considered the best children's writer of all time—"so that any child who likes my books and doesn't know hers may be led back to the master of us all."

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The Time Garden 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
In another one of Edward Eager's Tales of Magic, the irrepressible children from Knight’s Castle return for some further magic adventures.   The father of Roger and Ann, who live in Toledo, OH, has written a play that is to be produced in London, England.  He and their mother must go there  The brother and sister are to stay with their cousins in Baltimore, MD, Jack and Eliza, again, but Aunt Katharine and Uncle John are planning a business trip to England too, so the four cousins are sent to spend the summer with a distant great-aunt, old Mrs. Whiton who lives outside of Boston, MA, beside the sea.   There they discover a special thyme garden overseen by a magical toad-like creature known as the Natterjack.      The children learn that if they rub some of the thyme, they are magically transported to different times and places.  They have experiences with Whiton ancestors in the Revolutionary War, abolitionist ancestors on the Underground Railroad in pre-Civil War days, the March/Alcott family of Little Women fame who lived nearby, and cannibals on a tropical island.  At first, Jack doesn’t want to “play.”  He’s too interested in girls and claims that it’s all just pretend anyway, but he finally joins in.   Things never seem to go as desired, yet they always work out in the end.  Then they want to go see their parents in London and visit the Queen.  However, something goes horribly wrong.   What will they do when Jack and Eliza get stuck with Queen Elizabeth I, and Eliza is imprisoned at the Tower of London, while Roger and Ann end up talking with Queen Victoria?        I like Edward Eager’s stories.  They are quite reminiscent of the tales by Edith Nesbit who was one of C. S. Lewis’s favorite storytellers.  Some people oppose any kind of “magic” in children’s books, so they would want to avoid ones like this.  However, from my perspective, the “magic” of Eager is not the occultic magic of witchcraft and sorcery but the make-believe magic of fairy tales.  There are a couple of common euphemisms (gee and darn) but no truly bad language like cursing or profanity.  It is interesting to note that the mothers of the two sets of cousins were two of the children in Half Magic and Magic by the Lake, also by Eager.  Very easy to read and light-hearted with clever chapter titles, the book is both fun and funny and may actually stimulate some interest in the historical periods and events which the children visit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. I had been looking for this for about a year now. I thought it was called magic time grass! I just got it finally from the library today and can't put it down. Except ofcourse for basics, to write this reveiw, to surf the web for free magazines ane ebooks and ... hey, follow me on twitter @ fearme (I think that's it) anyways, back to: THE TIME GARDEN... I haven't got all the TIME in the world!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When four children meet a magical being, the Natterjack, time traveling adventures result. Edward Eager uses humor as he tells his story - a great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Time Garden is one of my favorite books in the whole entire world. Actually, any book by Edward Eager is. He is such a magnificent writer. His tales of fantasy are so enriching and happy...mostly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that Edward Eager is fantastic writer. The Time Garden is the book that I just read for a 5th grade book project. I made very good recamendation because I believe this book was out-standing!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago