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Bed-Knob and Broomstick (A Combined Edition of: "The Magic Bed-Knob" and "Bonfires and Broomsticks") Paperback – September 1, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Norton (1903-1992) lived in England, where she was an actress, playwright, and award-winning author of the classic Borrowers novels.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152024565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152024567
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read this book as a child, and it was one that I read again and again. Using a magical bedknob, the children in this story travel through time and space to ancient England, a desert island and more. I just bought this for my nine year old niece, who is a "Harry Potter" fan, but too young for most of the scarier titles that are sometimes suggested for fans of the series. Like all of the author's books, this one is exciting, but not scary, and is clearly the product of a gentler time.
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A Kid's Review on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Our class enjoyed hearing our teacher read this story. She thought we might like it because we enjoyed "Harry Potter" last year. We liked it when the children travelled back into the past. It was good when Miss Price and Emelius fell in love and travelled back to Emelius's time
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By A Customer on September 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've always found the Borrower books to be boring and somewhat of a sluggish read, but this book by Mary Norton is superb and I'm surprised that more people don't know of it. The writing is witty and fast-paced. Erik Blegvad's illustrations are a joy to look at and compliment the writing beautifully.
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Format: Paperback
So, having seen the Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks, you know the whole story, right? Wrong! Being a fan of that movie, I picked up this book expecting some minor discrepancies, but was amazed to find a story that had practically nothing in common with the movie.

This is the story of Carey, Charles and Paul Wilson who, while staying with their aunt in Bedfordshire, suddenly discover that a neighbor, Miss Price is a witch! Not your stereotypical witch, Miss Price is a prim and proper lady who is willing to buy the children's silence with the gift of a magic bed knob that will allow the children to travel through space and time. Seeking to visit their mother, the children find themselves scooped up by the London police. Next, Miss Price takes them to an isolated tropical island, only to discover that cannibals inhabit the island. Their final adventure takes them to Restoration England, where they meet a forlorn (and inept) necromancer, Emelius Jones.

This story (actually two books combined into one) is quite charming. In a gentle and freewheeling fashion, Mary Norton draws the reader along on a fantastic adventure. This book is just right for the young reader, with a few nice illustrations, and a wonderful storyline.
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Format: Paperback
Mary Norton's 1940 children's classic remains as fresh and delightful today as when first published. While on summer holidays at the home of an elderly aunt in the country, Carey, Charles and young Paul make the acquaintance of a neighbor lady who is secretly studying witchcraft--only for "white" purposes of course--on her own. To ensure the siblings' silence re her unusual hobby Miss Price provides them with a spell as her part of the bargain: she bewitches one of four bed knobs on Paul's bed, so that the kids can travel to other terrestrial places. Sounds great, huh?

After a miserable trial run to visit their empty London house the children seek Miss Price's help; this responsible student witch insists on accompanying them on a real adventure: to an uninhabited (?) south sea island. After near disaster and a battle of will and sorcery, the four barely make it back hone, to stern consequences. The kids' only souvenir is the bed knob which Paul sneaks out and back to London, where his older siblings try to convince him that it was just a dream.

Following the success of this short story Norton wrote a charming sequel, BED KNOB AND BONFIRE, set two years later, in which the three children and later Miss Price travel back in time--to the mid 17th century. This was a dangerous age to be alive, what with the great fire of London and the impending Black Plague. As you know, Time Travel can work both ways--within literary limitations; Miss Price is surprised to find Emelius, a down-at-heals necromancer, as her houseguest. But in which Time will he (and she as well) be most content? A joy ride for kids of all ages!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bedknob and Broomstick is the inspiration for the movie "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" but is quite a different story. This book is a charming and simple fantasy. It is not set in WWII as the film is and there are no soldiers or armies.
This book describes the childrens' encounters with the village's secret witch and their adventuring together in space and time. The manners and relationships are very English pre-war. It is a little reminiscent of the tone of Wind in the Willows.
The book is divided into two parts as it was originally two books, however the characters and situations are the same so it can easily be read as a single book.
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Format: Paperback
This book, and virtually all of its modern editions, consists of two novellas - "The Magic Bed-Knob" (1943) and "Bonfires and Broomsticks" (1945)- which were combined as "Bed-Knob and Broomstick" in 1957. The book is, of course, the source material for the 1971 Disney movie. My edition's cover is actually a production photo from the Disney movie, but despite that the book is in many ways different from the movie, and the book certainly isn't simply a novelization of the movie. (By way of comparison, this is similar to how very different the Mary Poppins books and the Mary Poppins movie are.)

What will be familiar is the three child characters - Carey, Charles and Paul - who were carried over whole into the movie. However, the witch, Ms. Price, is a very different and more complicated character in the book than she is portrayed to be by Angela Lansbury. The first novella is like the movie, in that the children discover Ms. Price's witchy tendencies, come into possession of the magic bed-knob, and have travel adventures. The second novella involves time travel and a necromancer from the seventeenth century, and almost none of that made it into the movie. World War II and soldiers play a major role in the movie, but there is no mention of the War from the 1957 edition onward.

All of that said, is the book worth a read? I would say yes, and suggest that in a number of particulars it is more satisfying, although less cinematic, than the Disney effort. In the book the children are more interesting and their relationships, and sibling conflicts, are more developed. They are polite but a bit reckless and spirited and they are the featured characters in the first novella. Ms. Price mostly just serves to introduce them to the magic bed-knob and to supervise their adventures.
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Bed-Knob and Broomstick (A Combined Edition of: "The Magic Bed-Knob" and "Bonfires and Broomsticks")
This item: Bed-Knob and Broomstick (A Combined Edition of: "The Magic Bed-Knob" and "Bonfires and Broomsticks")
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