The Phoenix and the Carpet
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Embark on marvelous adventures with THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET! Jane, Robert, Cyril, and Anthea hope for "something to happen" and their wish is granted most spectacularly! Quite by accident, they become the owners of an ancient talking bird, the Phoenix, when it hatches from a magnificent egg after 2,000 years of rest. With his encouragement, the children climb aboard his magic carpet and are transported anywhere they want to go -- to tropical islands, in search of treasures, and on daring rescues! With a magical mix of fantasy and fun, THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET is an extraordinary journey for the whole family!
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Although an excellent adaptation and really enjoyed by my children (boy 9, girl 11), note that this is a 'Disney' offering and so the original 6 episodes at 28 minutes each have been heavily cut and made into a seamless 93 minute movie (still very good). The overall quality of this adaptation is excellent and the special effects are to a high standard for a TV production of the time (certainly more than adequate). Also it's not available as a complete BBC DVD yet so this is at least a lot better than nothing. Personally I would prefer the six episodes to be presented in their entirety with end credits as the episodes are scripted for the cliffhanger, and converting them into a single movie badly affects pace (as seen with the BBC Narnia series in the US). Naturally the BBC's 'Five children and it' DVD is a logical pre-view if you can find it, but it's not essential to the plot (but it is well worth seeing if you have preteen children about). This story is more about adventure and travel than the earlier slightly more moralistic book. There are still 'wishes' to be granted by the carpet though, and the onboard Phoenix adds the wise commentary, largely along the lines of "Actually it would be a really bad idea to do that, oops too late !". Other superb BBC DVD adaptations ideal for preteens are The Shoebox Zoo, The Narnia Chronicles, The Box of delights and The Borrowers (again if you can find them).