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Books About Magical Houses

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books featuring magical houses.

Amy Sparkes  (author of The House at the Edge of Magic) picks out five recommended children’s books featuring magical houses.

C. S. Lewis
 & Pauline Baynes
Chapter book

I love the house of Professor Digory Kirke, that the children arrive at after being evacuated from London. One of my favourite quotes in the book is where the Professor says: “I should warn you that this is a very strange house and even I know very little about it.” I adore the fact that the Professor admits there is so much he doesn’t know. So much left to explore. The idea that undiscovered magic is on your doorstep, or possibly even in your bedroom, is wonderful. This remains one of my favourite childhood books.

J. K. Rowling
Chapter book

The higgledy-piggledy nature of The Burrow is tremendous fun. It’s the home of the Weasley family in the Harry Potter books (I have the same number of children as Mrs Weasley and can completely identify with her!). The house is delightfully chaotic, but with so many interesting, magical things to find and ponder upon. I love the imagination behind it. I’d love to visit here and explore it.

Sophie Anderson
 & Melissa Castrillon & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book

This is a wildly imaginative and highly unusual story (in the best of ways) brimming with wonder, magic, folklore and compassion. Marinka is a 12-year-old girl who lives with her grandmother, Baba Yaga. Together they live in a house with chicken legs and move around from place to place, fulfilling their role of ‘guardians of the gate’ by guiding the spirits of the deceased through the gateway between life and death. Before the spirits pass through the gate, Baba Yaga listens to their stories and celebrates their life with them. Marinka’s destiny appears to be already decided; she is to train to become a Yaga like her grandmother and this means that she is never allowed to go to school or make friends with the living. Increasingly Marinka realises that she does not want to live the life of a Yaga and begins to take big risks as she experiences a rising desire to make some real friends and sample a ‘normal’ existence. What follows is an emotive coming-of-age story that sees Marinka working to resolve the tensions between her own desires and the path she is expected to follow.

Sophie Anderson is a wonderful storyteller and has very skilfully crafted a compelling and believable magical world that is an enchanting amalgamation between traditional and modern. I really enjoyed how, through Marinka’s eyes, I found myself able to explore elements of a Slavic folk story in a fresh and relatable way, and how Anderson’s emotive narrative invites the reader to meet the characters and events with a large amount of compassion.

This is a magical and captivating narrative that dances its way through darkness and light, joy and grief and life and death and it is highly recommended for Years 5 and 6

Enid Blyton
Chapter book
The first magical story in the Faraway Tree series by one of the world’s most popular children’s authors, Enid Blyton. Joe, Beth and Frannie find the Enchanted Wood on the doorstep of their new home, and when they discover the Faraway Tree they fall into all sorts of adventures! Join them and their friends Moonface, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy as they discover which new land is at the top of the Faraway Tree. Will it be the Land of Spells, the Land of Treats, or the Land of Do-As-You-Please? Discover the magic! First published in 1939, this edition contains the original text. Inside illustrations are by Jan McCafferty, and the cover by Mark Beech (2014).
Amy Sparkes & Ben Mantle
Chapter book

A cheeky addition, but I really hope people enjoy the world I’ve created within the House At The Edge of Magic. There is magic everywhere, and nothing is quite as it seems. There is so much to explore in the House. Even I don’t know what is behind every door, or what is going to happen next there. I’m looking forward to discovering more as I write. I echo the words of Professor Digory Kirke: “I should warn you that is a very strange house and even I know very little about it.” And that is undoubtedly, to me, one of the most exciting things about it.

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