by E. Nesbit is a great book.
When Cyril, Robert, Anthea, and Jane find a phoenix's egg in a red rug that their mother bought, there's sure to be adventure. Their mother decides that the egg is meant to be some sort of a decoration; she puts the egg on the mantel. A few days later, Cyril, Robert, Anthea, and Jane decide to pretend to be living years ago when people offered sacrifice. They make a fire and while playing, Robert knocked the egg into the fire. With a loud "BOOM," the egg burst open and the phoenix flies out. He then tells the four children that the rug is a magic rug, and that it can take them any place they wish to go to. As always, the children decide to try the rug out. Of course, this leads them to all sorts of adventures!!!
The Phoenix and the Carpet is the sequel to Five Children and It, and the prequel to The Story of the Amulet. It's an EXCELLENT book and would make a GREAT read-aloud.