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Five Children and It

E. Nesbit

Book Overview: 

This delightful novel begins when a family of five children moves from London to the English countryside. While playing in a gravel pit soon after the move, they discover an ancient and rather grumpy sand-fairy known as the Psammead, who agrees to grant one wish of theirs per day. The children’s wishes send them on adventure after adventure, but rarely turn out as expected.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . ., and had to sit down again in a hurry." He staggered, and had to sit down again in a hurry

It was decided that Cyril should go into the Blue Boar and ask for ginger-beer, because, as Anthea said, "It was not wrong for men to go into beer-saloons, only for children. And Cyril is nearer being a man than us, because he is the eldest." So he went. The others sat in the sun and waited.

"Oh, how hot it is!" said Robert. "Dogs put their tongues out when they're hot; I wonder if it would cool us at all to put out ours?"

"We might try," Jane said; and they all put their tongues out as far as ever they could go, so that it quite stretched their throats, but it only seemed to make them thirstier than ever, [Pg 52]besides annoying everyone who went by. So they took their tongues in again, just as Cyril came back with ginger-beer.

"I had to pay for it out of my own money, though, that I was going to buy rabbits with," he said. "They wouldn't change . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Somehow I missed reading Five Children and It when I was a child myself, so when I saw a copy at a yard sale I had to buy it. It only cost 10p, and the little girl who sold it to me looked rather like an E. Nesbit heroine, very serious, with huge dark eyes. The plot is a variant on "be careful wh...more

Five children practically left on this own in a English countryside. This book was published in 1902, almost 50 years before C. S. Lewis wrote his The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

However, the similarity ends there. The story of Five Children and It does not bring you to a magical world at th...more

Nesbit is the great-grandma of pretty nearly all the children's fantasy books we love, the first author to write really wittily for kids and without condescending to them, and the originator of the basic structure that carries on through C.S. Lewis and Edward Eager and even in a way Jo Rowling: f...more

For some reason when I was a kid and I first read this book, it terrified the hell out of me. I don't remember why. I think back when I was growing up in PMQ housing there had been shadows on the wall from the asbestos removal junk the military had set up in the attic above my bed, shadows which...more

This was a rather pleasant trip down memory lane for me, as I distinctly remember rushing home from school in order to watch the TV adaptation of this book. Unfortunately though, I didn't enjoy this as much as I had anticipated.
I can understand why this book is a children's classic. It is differe...more

I loved this book as a child, and read it over and over. The idea of having a wish every day is so appealing, but then seeing how it goes hilariously wrong day after day is great, too. I read this aloud to my kids (July 2015), and though my 10yo liked it, my 6yo was less engaged. I found myself h...more

I read Five Children and It with the Women’s Classic Literature Enthusiasts group and enjoyed it immensely. If you like Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and its series' mates by Betty MacDonald, you will like Five Children and It. The ideal child reader of this book is between second and fifth grade, with a fo...more

Though children literature, extremely entertaining - much unlike other children books (Hobbit or Martin`s Ice Dragon, for example - I was not able to read - or at least to finish - them as an adult). Highly recommended.

This is a perfectly delightful story of the misadventures of five siblings who are granted a daily wish by a prehistoric creature who lives in the sandpit near their home. One of the eleven chapters would, by modern standards, be deemed racist. However, this fault might be overlooked when the rea...more

This book just was not for me. I think if I had read it as a child I would have liked it a lot more. I found it so repetitive and the children to be obtuse. If I had not listened to the audiobook I'm not sure I would have gotten through it. Very well written, it was the story itself I did not car...more

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