There are so many wonderful literary adventures that take place during the summer:

Here are two more delightful summer adventures, both of which are classics that often get overlooked. Both involve 4 children (3 girls and a boy), both have inspired other summer adventures (such as those of the aforementioned Pevensies and Penderwicks), and both deal with some sort of magic talisman that doesn’t exactly behave the way one might expect….

The Enchanted Castle
E. Nesbit
1907
Puffin (1994)

Nesbit’s influence on later writers of children’s fantasy cannot be underestimated and, unlike many 100+ year old books, her stories remain quite readable for children today. The Enchanted Castle is a lively romp in which 4 children discover a magic ring, watch the statuary on the castle grounds come alive, and have all sorts of crazy little adventures. Who wouldn’t want a summer like that? Delightful, and since the four children are on summer holiday, it fits right in with a bit of hot July read-a-book-on-the-couch-and-daydream weather.

Half Magic
Edward Eager
1954
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (1999)

The four children in Half Magic actually refer to The Enchanted Castle because they are wishing for their own summer break to be more interesting. But they are destined for magical adventures of their own. They discover a magic coin that grants wishes–every child’s secret fantasy! Except that their coin turns out to grant only half a wish. And sometimes that half is a bit hard to predict. But the children learn to adapt and have a truly magical summer even if they aren’t back in Nesbit’s Enchanted Castle like they first wish. Another great pick-me-up for summer’s doldrums, especially when that assigned summer reading list looks, well, too much like homework.

Both books appropriate read alouds for elementary; reading level around middle elementary and up.
Cover images from goodreads; books from my local library

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