By E. Nesbit
The Phoenix and the Carpet is a fantasy novel for children, written by E. Nesbit and first published in 1904. It is the second in a trilogy of novels that begins with Five Children and It (1902), and follows the adventures of the same five children: Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and the Lamb.
This middle volume of the trilogy that begins with Five Children and It and concludes with The Story of the Amulet, and deviates somewhat from the other two in that the Psammead is mentioned only briefly, and in this volume the five children live with both their parents in the family home in London. In both the other volumes, circumstances have forced the children to spend protracted periods away from their home and their father.
A continuing theme throughout The Phoenix and the Carpet is the ancient element of fire. The story begins shortly before November 5, celebrated in Britain as Guy Fawkes Night. The four children have accumulated a small hoard of fireworks for the night, but they are too impatient to wait until November 5 to light them, so they set off a few samples in the nursery. This results in the fire that destroys the carpet. Their parents purchase a second-hand carpet which is found to contain an egg that emits a phosphorescent glow. The children accidentally knock this egg into the fire: it hatches, revealing a golden Phoenix who speaks perfect English.