Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha are siblings living in the 1920s. Their church father is all in, and their mother works for a newspaper. While their beget is at bring, Miss Bick takes manage of the house and the children, although she isn ’ t in truth good with children. The children are frequently free to amuse themselves on their own during the summer, and they like to pick out books from the library for entertainment. They particularly enjoy the fantasy books by E. Nesbit ( a real author, and they reference her substantial books during the narrative ), and they wish that exciting, charming things like the ones that happen in her stories would happen to them .
They get their wish ( and a great many others ) when Jane finds a strange coin on the sidewalk that they mistake for a nickel at first. By accident, they discover that this coin grants wishes, but it has a curious habit of only granting half of what a person wishes for ( and the coin seems to interpret the estimate of “ one-half ” pretty liberally, depending on the type of wish, so results can be reasonably unpredictable ) .
Jane is so blase after she finds the coin that she wishes that there would be a fire for some excitation. suddenly, the children hear a arouse engine and detect that a child ’ second playhouse had caught arouse. It could have been coincidence, except that their mother borrows some change from Jane, getting the charming coin by accident. While she is visiting the children ’ sulfur aunt and uncle and finds their conversation drilling, she wishes that she were at home, but finds herself unexpectedly by the slope of the road halfway home. She is confused but thinks that she must fair be very banal or something and forgot that she was walking home. She ends up accepting a ride from a very courteous man who happened to be passing her on the road and thought that she looked lost and confused.
These early experiences and a series of odd wishes Mark makes when he doesn ’ t realize that he has the coin prove to the children not entirely that the mint is charming but that they have to be highly careful what they wish for when they have it. They have to word their requests identical cautiously, asking for twice adenine much of anything they want in club to counteract the half charming of the coin. even so, they can ’ metric ton avail but make mistakes and get themselves into trouble .
When Katharine uses her turn with the coin to take them back to the days of King Arthur, she ends up causing worry and disrupting history by defeating Lancelot in a tournament. fortunately, Merlin realizes what the children have done and forces them to explain themselves and show him the magic trick coin. After inspecting it, Merlin gives the children a austere lecture about interfering with the natural course of history. He uses the mint ’ s magic to undo what the children have done and further uses it to restrict the children ’ mho wishes to affecting only their own time time period. He warns them to be more careful about what they wish for, keeping their wishes smaller and more personal, adding that the coin ’ sulfur charming will finally be exhausted, so they should save their wishes for what is important .
There is one more black know when the children go to the movies ( a silent film because this is 1920s ), and Martha by chance wishes that she wasn ’ t there while touching Jane ’ randomness purse, which holds the mint. Martha, of course, ends up being only center “ not there, ” about like a living ghost, which terrifies onlookers. Straightening out that mess brings them into contact with Mr. Smith, the nice homo who gave their mother a depend on home. He owns a bookshop, and he enjoys fantasy stories arsenic much as the children do. He becomes the entirely adult who knows that the children have been using magic trick, and he ’ second fascinated by it, enjoying witnessing their adventures .
When the children ’ s mother comes to pick them up, Mr. Smith is pleased to meet her again and invites the kin to join him for dinner. Mr. Smith is obviously adoring of the children ’ south mother, and most of the children like him, besides. however, Jane is uneasy. It ’ s partially that she worries that Mr. Smith will interfere with their use of the charming coin and partially that she worries about his modern relationship with their mother. Of the four children, alone Jane, as the oldest, very remembers their father, and she can ’ metric ton stand the idea that Mr. Smith might become their stepfather and take his space.
When Jane argues with the other children about Mr. Smith and headlong wishes that she belonged to another kin, the early children call upon Mr. Smith to help them rescue Jane from her foolish wish, her unsuitable new family, and from herself .
In the end, Mr. Smith does marry the children ’ randomness mother, and even Jane is happy with the arrangement, having come to appreciate Mr. Smith a lot better. once their mother and Mr. Smith each have what they wished for most — each early and a felicitous class with the children — they forget about the magic trick coin. Although none of the children realize it, the coin besides grants Jane one concluding half-wish in which her founder comes to her in a dream-like shape, letting her know that he approves of her mother ’ south remarriage and the children ’ south modern stepfather because he wants them all to be happy. This gives Jane the reassurance she needs to fully accept Mr. Smith. The children, deciding that the mint has given them all the wishes it ’ second going to, leave it in a convenient home for a new owner to find .
You don ’ thyroxine find out what happens with the coin ’ s new owner apart from when the children see a young girlfriend pick it up and realize that it ’ randomness magic when she makes her first wish. however, there is a cross-over scene in another book in the series, Seven-Day Magic, which explains a little more about what happens future. Books in this series frequently reference and sometimes parody other children ’ sulfur books that were popular at the clock they written, and individual books in the series even sometimes reference each other, even when the main characters have changed .
speak of literary references and parodies in this series, sometimes it ’ s a little unmanageable to tell for certain which scenes are very meant as parodies and which aren ’ triiodothyronine. Knowing a spot about vintage children ’ south fiction helps, but there may be some scenes in the stories which can make modern readers a little uneasy. One scene in the bible that bothered me was near the begin, when Mark wishes to be on a desert island. This was before the children fully realize that the coin only grants one-half of a wish, so the children equitable end up in a desert, but not on an island. The function that bothers me is that they are briefly kidnapped by a kind of wandering Arab serviceman who seems to be planning to ransom or sell them. This scene is like an old pigeonhole out of the sort of silent movies that the children would have been watching, and because of that, it was a little irritating to read. The man ’ south name is Achmed ( still in keeping with the pigeonhole ), and they keep referring to him as “ Achmed the Arab, ” in case you need reminding that that ’ s what he is. They get out of their predicament with him by wishing for something that would make him truly happy so that he ’ ll forget about them. By then, they realize that they need to double their request in holy order to make the coin work properly, so their regard works. The mint ends up giving Achmed a beautiful wife and “ six plank Arab children ” ( in case you forgot that Achmed ’ second children would be Arab deoxyadenosine monophosphate well ) and broadly improves what Achmed owns, so Achmed becomes a glad family man and gives up his earlier, fishy ways. It ’ randomness eye-rollingly stereotyped and platitude, so I think it ’ second worth telling likely readers that this scene is there.
The cliches and stereotypes ( not to mention the constant, unnecessary repeat of the news “ Arab ” merely to remind you that that ’ s what everyone is, in case you were confused ) in that scenery were annoying, but unfortunately, things like that crop up pretty regularly in children ’ randomness literature from the 1950s and early when there are scenes that take set just about anywhere outside of the United States, Canada, or Europe. That being said, there are a couple of things that make this scene easier to bear. One is that Mark, realizing that the charming mint can get them out of this situation and that they have the power to put Achmed at their mercy, decides not to do it because it occurs to him that Achmed is credibly a desperate valet because he is poor. Mark decides that Achmed would be a better person if he had whatever would make him feel the most fulfilled in life, so he wishes for that for him. It ’ sulfur nice that Mark sees him as being a person whose wellbeing needs to be considered, not fair an foe to be defeated. besides, it occurs to me that it ’ s not wholly certain that the defect they ’ rhenium in is a real-life one, even in the children ’ south fictional earth. I think the presumption is that it is, like we ’ re supposed to assume that the world of Camelot that they visit is a real part of history, but it may not be. In fact, the children in different books in this series in cosmopolitan sometimes get philosophical about their charming adventures, wondering about how their charming adventures fit into the real populace around them or if they very do, and they never amply get all the answers. possibly the coin took the children to their idea of what a defect or what Camelot would be like, not to those real places. In 1921, there was a celebrated silent movie called The Sheik in which Rudolph Valentino played an arabian sheik named Ahmed ( Achmed ’ second name could be a joke on that ). It ’ s not a movie for children, but it was identical democratic in the 1920s, and it inspired other movies with arabian themes, at least a couple of songs, and probably a number of the stereotypes about Arabs of the clock time. then, if the kids in the fib were imagining an arab desert, it would credibly be something resembling what they ’ d seen in movies like that. This little gamble may have alone taken home in the complex number world, flush from the children ’ mho position, and the generator may be poking fun at the notions children get from popular acculturation. flush in the end, the children admit that there are many things they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate understand about the coin and how it works, like where the other half of Martha went when she was merely one-half there. In a world where charming works, reasonably much anything is possible. then again, since the integral record is fabricated, it may be best not to worry besides much about it. still, I precisely plain didn ’ triiodothyronine like this scene. The rest of the ledger wasn ’ t indeed bad .
overall, it ’ s a fun story. function of the fun for book lovers is in spotting the diverse literary references in the fib because the children talk about the books they like and read and compare their adventures to ones they ’ ve read about. The concept of the half-wishes besides makes you think. It ’ second deserving pointing out that, although the children enjoy the general adventure of the coin, most of the children ’ south wishes, no matter how carefully they son them, don ’ thyroxine turn out the way that they expected, even when they get precisely what they asked for. Mr. Smith marrying their mother is actually the best wish that comes true in the solid book .
The bible is presently available on-line through Internet Archive ( multiple copies ).