Philip Haldane, 10, is not happy when his older half-sister Helen marries a widowed man with a daughter named Lucy. In a sour mood because he has had to give up his exclusive relationship with Helen, Philip makes a bad impression on everyone, who in turn treat him badly. Left alone one day, he builds a huge city with Lucy's toys, then awakens to find himself inside it! Much to his irritation, Lucy shows up too. At first placed under arrest, Philip is then hailed as "the Deliverer," who must perform seven tasks to free the magic city from its enchantment. This includes killing the dragon (which turns out to be a giant wind-up lizard), unraveling the Mazy Carpet (a giant crochet) without cutting it, freeing the Islanders from their fear of the sea, and so on.
All along the way, Philip and Lucy recognize elements of the Magic City as toys from their past. They are pursued by a pushy, arrogant lady in a veil who seems to want to take over, and whom they dub "the Pretenderette." This 1910 novel by the great children's storyteller E. Nesbit features her familiarly charming, pleasant style.
This report prepared by David Loftus