Reading
Here is a revamped version of the literary references that used to be on the individual books pages. I think a list of books that Eager namedropped and appeared to think very highly of might be a better idea.

Eager's most obvious influence was British novelist E. Nesbit. His novels are tributes (whether directly or indirectly) to hers. Read Eager's article "Daily Magic" from the October 1958 issue of Horn Book for a good overview. All of these books are now in the public domain and can be found to read online.

Eager dubs these the "golden half-dozen" magic stories:
* The Enchanted Castle ("desert island reading")
The "five children" books:
* Five Children and It
* The Phoenix and the Carpet (basis for The Time Garden?)
* The Story of the Amulet
The Arden books:
* The House of Arden
* Harding's Luck (partial basis for Knight's Castle?)

Other Nesbits Eager seems to deem as worth reading:
* The Magic City (basis for Knight's Castle)
* Wet Magic (basis for Magic on the Lake?)
* the Bastable books (The Treasure Seekers, The Wouldbegoods, The New Treasure Seekers, Oswald Bastable)
* Five of Us and Madeline (short stories)
* The Railway Children
* The Wonderful Garden ("an almost perfect book," basis for Magic or Not? and The Well-Wishers)

In an article titled "A Father's Minority Report," Eager recommends these books as ones he and his son enjoy:

Aspinwall, Alicia: Short Stories for Short People (1896)
Atwater, Richard and Florence: Mr. Popper's Penguins (1938)
Austin, Margot: Peter Churchmouse (1941)
Bailey, Carolyn Sherwood: Miss Hickory (1946)
Baker, Margaret and Mary: Tomson's Hallowe'en (1929)
Bangold, Enid: Alice and Thomas and Jane (1946)
Baum, L. Frank: The Wizard of Oz (1900)
Baum, L. Frank: The Land of Oz (1904)
Baum, L. Frank: Ozma of Oz (1907)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson: Racketty Packetty House (1914)
Carryl, Charles: The Admiral's Caravan (1892)
de Saint Exupery, Antoine: The Little Prince (1943)
Eaton, Anne: Treasure for the Taking (1946)
Gag, Wanda: The Funny Thing (1929)
Graham, Al: Timothy Turtle (1949)
Hillyard, M.D.: The Exciting Family (1936)
Lawson, Robert: Rabbit Hill (1944)
McKay, Herbert: Noah and Rabbit (1932)
Nesbit, E.: The Enchanted Castle (1907)
Parrish, Anne: Floating Island (1930)
Potter, Beatrix: The Fairy Caravan (1929)
Potter, Beatrix: Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930)
Thompson, Ruth Plumly: Kabumpo in Oz (1922)
Thurber, James: The White Deer (1945)
Tolkien, J.R.R.: The Hobbit (1938)
van Stockum, Hilda: Kersti and Saint Nicholas (1940)
White, E.B.: Stuart Little (1945)
White, Eliza Orne: Enchanted Mountain (1911)

More books and authors, arranged by author.

Alcott, Lousia May. Little Women.
This is one of Ann's favorite books, and is mentioned in both Knight's Castle and The Time Garden. Actually, it's more than just mentioned in the latter. :P

Baum, L. Frank. The Oz series
Eager grew up reading these books as a child and, in addition to Nesbit, served as a major inspiration to his books. I have read that his books contain veiled references to the Oz books, but as I haven't read the Oz books, I can't say where they might be. :P

Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows
This book is adorable. I would have hated it as a child, though. Very, very British. It is mentioned explicitly in The Time Garden, and is referred to (though not by name) in the "magic overload" scene at the beginning of Magic by the Lake.

Lovelace, Maud Hart. the Betsy-Tacy books
Ann's other favorite books, these are autobiographical novels about the author ("Betsy") and her friend ("Tacy"), and later their other best friend ("Tib"). These books are unique in that as the girls age, the reading level adjusts with them. I enjoyed the early books as a kid, but the later ones were just to hard for me.

Masefield, John. The Midnight Folk.
Eager obviously thought ever highly of this now-rare British fantasy novel. It is namedropped in both Magic or Not? and The Time Garden.

Potter, Beatrix. (various short stories)
Eager's early book Mouse Manor was inspired by the tales of Beatrix Potter and was written only when he ran out of Potter stories to read to his son. These were among my own first favorite stories as well.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. The Little House series
My own favorite books before discovering Eager's, these novels are clear inspiration for an episode in Seven-Day Magic.

And my own recommendations:

Sawyer, Ruth. Roller Skates
Eager's children would have loved the happy, energetic heroine of this book. She reminds me a little of Jane, only far less defiant.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island
Maybe this was mentioned in one of Eager's books and I just don't remember. If not, this certainly seems like the sort of book they would love.

 

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