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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 what

Five Children and It was a fantasy children's story published by Edith Nesbit in 1902. Clearly, a classic with moral and educational themes for children about wishes and avarice. The five children are left alone with a house full of servants while their parents must take care of one of the grandpare

A classic tale of wishes (especially those that are endless) never quite being as wonderful as you think.


420/1001 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

“Grown-up people find it very difficult to believe really wonderful things, unless they have what they call proof.”

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: four

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 havi

I’m on a roll this year! I am pretty stingy with my five star ratings so to give yet another six stars is something!

This easily wins six stars.

The premise and execution are positively clever. The children find a sand fairy, and when they learn that it grants wishes, they kind of make one on the sp

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