|This great cover captures the tone of|
|Nesbit's book. I am disgusted by children's|
|lit covers that imply "these books are|
|about kids; therefore they must be so|
|silly" like the current covers for the|
She uses a technique common in nineteenth century children's literature--that of the amused, outside narrator commenting occasionally on the characters' foibles. This approach can get a tad coy. (C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, both products of English narration, use this approach to a limited extent; Tolkien is far more disciplined in its use and Lewis is far less coy.) Despite the occasional "now, let's see what the boys and girls are up to" style, Nesbit survives so well because (1) the children are allowed to behave like children; (2) her yarns are darn good fun.
Nesbit did not only imagine outlandish adventures, she created narrative arcs that hold together throughout those outlandish adventures--and also expose the reader to worlds that are fascinating without being skin-crawling (see Frank L. Baum).
|Clip from The Railway Children (2000)|
Perhaps, indirectly, he did. Nesbit is one of the greats of children's fantasy, and she influenced/paved the way for an entire generation of like-minded British authors from Lewis and Tolkien to Diana Wynne Jones, Mary Norton (of Borrowers fame) and (even) J.K. Rowlings.