Welcome back to my bookshelf! Continuing along the short shelf, and continuing with Edward Eager books, we’ve got one of my absolute favorite books from childhood to experience today.
The fourth in a series of children’s books by Edward Eager, The Time Garden is easily my favorite of the six. Four children, the children from Knight’s Castle (book two), go on their second magical adventure. As with the others, it’s a seasonal adventure. They discover a thyme garden full of magical thyme herbs, all of various types. Their somewhat-guide through the garden is a talking toad (as I remember it, could be a different animal), and not the most reliable of hosts. Until the thyme is ripe, they can go on all sorts of adventures through history, never knowing for certain where they will land, but knowing a little about the sort of adventure they will have based on the type of thyme they choose.
Being the fan of history that I am, and admittedly a huge fan of well-done time travel, this is easily my favorite Edward Eager tale. The children travel to the American Revolution, helping Paul Revere spread the word that the British are coming. They also go back to the Civil War era, helping a couple of runaway slaves through the Underground Railroad.
Perhaps the best episode, however, is where these four children go back in time to an event that happens in the previous book, Magic by the Lake, where they help their own parents out of a pickle on their own magical adventure. It’s not only a great tie-in, but it’s a charming idea, since readers who read in sequence would have already known that the children helping out were the future children of the initial children (got that?), but hadn’t figured out how it all worked until they got to The Time Garden.
As with the other Edward Eager books, this is a magical, charming, enchanting children’s book that really is a wonderfully written, interesting read. This one is also very intelligent, and the beautiful thing about these book is how much you learn about and explore all sorts of things just by reading about four children having a magical adventure.