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The five children find a cantankerous sand fairy a psammead in a gravel pit Every day 'It' will grant each of them a wish that lasts until sunset often with disastrous conseuencesNever out of print since 1902 The Introduction to this edition examines Nesbit's life and her reading showing the change in childrens' literature from Victorian times

10 thoughts on “Five Children and It

  1. says:

    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 fondness for historical fiction or British classics For comparison this is substantially easier reading then CS Lewis’ fiction The ideal adult reader is anyone who enjoys classic children’s novels andor Edwardian literatureFive Children and It was published in 1902 and is the first novel in Nesbit’s Psammead trilogy which consists of Five Children and It The Phoenix and the Carpet 1904 and The Story of the Amulet1906 In Five Children and It a group of siblings Anthea Robert Cyril Jane and a baby who is referred to as the Lamb find the Psammead in a sand uarry near their home in the English countryside The Psammead is a sand fairy able to grant wishes This classic takes us to Edwardian England where horses and buggies were the most common form of transportation and servants looked after the childrenIf you are spoiler averse you may want to stop reading furtherThe most successful aspects of Five Children and It were the world building the authentic relationships between and amongst the children and Nesbit's writing style I could relate to the children and their emotions They were described and interacted in a way that fit their ages and I found them to be differentiated in age appropriate manners Nesbit’s writing style struck just the right tone for me between communicating a moral and having fun The morals weren’t overblown or eye rolling The vocabulary didn't strike me as dumbed down for children but it also was not as flowery and ornate as Frances Hodgson Burnett's contemporaneously written works and was a style I found highly appealing For 75% of the book the adventures worked for me and my pre 6th grade self would have adored this book because it doesn't talk down to children and is sufficiently complex to appeal to adults The sexist and racist elements one chapter involves gypsies grated on me but were tolerable if Nesbit’s handling is appropriately appreciated as progressive in the context of her 1902 peers until I encountered Scalps it describes an adventure populated by “red Indians” which made me want to take a shower YMMV The last story involving the mother and stolen or magically relocated jewelry was unsuccessful for me and I am not certain why although I suspect that the mother's involvement in the story makes it less of an adventure and of a problem to be solved; less charming and imaginative and dire As with the Mrs Piggle Wiggle series the chapters of Five Children and It read like a series of only lightly connected short stories some of which were successful than others It was great fun though a super uick read 6 hours perhaps? and I recommend it to anyone who reads the description and is intrigued or who is a fan of Edwardian classicsBackground on the author E Nesbit was born in Kennington Surrey in 1858 The death of her father when she was four years old and the continuing ill health of her sister meant that Nesbit had a childhood absent focused adult attention and freuent moves Her family moved across Europe in search of healthy climates for her sister only to return to England for financial reasons Growing up she lived in France Spain and Germany in addition to various locations in Great Britain Her education came from a combination of periods in local elementarygrammar schools and the occasional boarding school but predominately through reading Nesbit wanted to be known as a poet and in her teens had a poem published This gave her greater confidence to write both for adults and children but it is for her 60 children's books including those on which she collaborated with other authors she is best known She distinguished herself from other writers of her time by writing about children as they were and rewriting conventional adventure stories to present them with female characters in lead roles Her friends included HG Wells and George Bernard Shaw She also was a political activist and a follower of William Morris and she and her husband Hubert Bland were among the founders of the Fabian Society a socialist organization later affiliated to the Labour Party Nesbit was an active lecturer and prolific writer on socialism during the 1880sInteresting links and articles which may necessarily include spoilers biography

  2. says:

    Although only written a couple of years earlier this was uite a different world to The Railway Children It is a very simple kind of children's story The parents are got rid of – not by sending the children away to school nor by having them eaten by an escaped hippo from the zoo but by the rather uaint expedient of having them go away on businessLiving in the Kent countryside between a chalk uarry and a gravel pit view spoiler or Rochester and Maidstone as they are otherwise known hide spoiler

  3. says:

    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 you wish for one of her favourite themes Some of the episodes are excellent and it's full of delightful asides But the construction is rather loose and the ending is weak I think she was dissatisfied with it and rewrote it a few years later as The Enchanted Castle to my mind her clear masterpiece So if you're as much of an E Nesbit fan as I am I definitely recommend reading this book If you like classic children's novels and aren't familiar with her work skip straight to Castle You won't be disappointed

  4. says:

    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 CS Lewis and Edward Eager and even in a way Jo Rowling four children usually siblings or cousins but sometimes friends stumble on a magical something that leads them into a series of fantastic adventures and important discoveries gently conveyed about the big issues of life Her books have a lovely period feel not unlike the opening pages of Alice in Wonderland tempered by Nesbit's practical sensibility about the real world and her sardonic sense of humor which makes the books a very enjoyable read for adults as well as great read aloudsIn this story written in 1902 the magical something is a Psammead a grumpy Persian sand fairy that looks something like a large tubby rodent with eyes on the end of stalks The Psammead is compelled to grant its finders one wish per day which the children are initially thrilled about but they soon discover that wishes are chancy things and the Psammead perversely literal in granting them with often unlooked for and unideal conseuences There are two seuels THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET written in 1904 and my personal favorite I always hear John Gielgud's voice coming out of the Phoenix and THE STORY OF THE AMULET 1906 Theatre folks may be interested to know that Nesbit was Noel Coward's favorite writer; there was a copy of THE ENCHANTED CASTLE on his bedside table at Firefly when he died Her books he wrote have meant a very great deal to me not only when I was a little boy of nine and onwards but right up to the present day I have re read them each at least twenty timesShe had an economy of phrase and an uneualled talent for evoking hot summer days in the English countryside His favorites? FIVE CHILDREN AND IT THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET THE HOUSE OF ARDEN THE ENCHANTED CASTLE THE WONDERFUL GARDEN and the Bastable seriesThe Brits did a film adaptation in 2004 somewhat different to the book in the way the story gets launched with Freddie High leading the juvenile cast and Tara Fitzgerald Alex Jennings Zoe Wanamaker and Kenneth Branagh as the adults In a stroke of total casting genius the voice of the Psammead is provided by Eddie Izzard

  5. says:

    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 anticipatedI can understand why this book is a children's classic It is different imaginative and really let's be honest who wouldn't want to casually find a sand fairy?This book lacked something for me Something that I cannot uite put my finger on but it has definitely resulted in me not relating to nor caring about the children plus I'm half considering not carrying on with the series

  6. says:

    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 reader considers the date of publication and could be used as a teachable moment if reading with a child All in all this entertaining tale elicited many chuckles and the occasional loud guffaw The most fun I've had since reading The Red Blazer Girls books earlier this year

  7. says:

    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 PM 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 I thought were It I know incredibly lame in hindsight My eight year old mind was also mixing up It with Cousin It the creepy hairy guy from The Addams Family 1990's films Going back and reading this classic tale as an adult is a whole different experience and the book has a great mix of nostalgia and innocence to make it memorable It's an endearing story if not a bit preachy but less unsettling than Peter Pan and other similar stories from its time I definitely enjoyed the book than the film the film adaptation is hokey and goofy and doesn't really capture the true spirit of the book in the same way nor are the characters as well developed as in the book It's a bit dated but still a welcome classic on my bookshelf

  8. says:

    Ladies and gentlemen 35 I will try something which until now had never done to write three reviews in one day Unfortunately I could not get to write three reviews on the same day because I was helping my boss with the proceedings and do not regret me pass it to me as a child I liked this book being Edith Nesbit was to be expected and as I said I was thinking about putting 4 stars but there have been several factors which have prevented me from it In the first place is that I think the best will be reuired and certainly Edith Nesbit has talent for much This story I liked a lot but not as much as treasure hunters fromsearch true or their tales of dragons Firstly I believe that it should explain the reason why I read this book Months ago in April I read that book of the history of fantasy fromsearch true written by Silvia Pato and edited by Nowtilus publishing despite his anti Christian bias and feminist is a book that I liked and I recommend despite their unfairest prejudice In that book spoke of Edith Nesbit I already knew the five guys and that in part because Goodreads recommended it to me and my conversations with the Professor Manuel Alfonseca I discovered thanks to the brief history of the fantasy to five guys and that was based on a Japanese anime which I saw in the tve1 when small Shamed was the magic Elf which I loved elduendemagico However it seems to be that there were differences which we will be examiningFirst thing I must say this book It is that I really enjoyed the Edition which has made the editorial El Paseo I must say that I will continue to this editorial with enormous interest It was a success by the editorial El Paseo rescue the original drawingsThe beginning perhaps a little weaker than expected but very well are the following chapters which are among the best that has been written in children's literature if Edith Nesbit had maintained that pace during the entire novel no doubt you would have put the five stars to the book Those pages reminded me of the best moments of golden age Kenneth Grahame and the William of Richmal Crompton the William will always be a kid's version of the great PG Wodehouse that sometimes even manages to overcome it but going back to five children and that one of the biggest attractions of the book is without a doubt the moral and ethical tone of the book Aside from that the five children in this case three children one a baby and two girls live incredible adventures We will see how Nesbit encouraged against greed remember that these stories Edith Nesbit wrote them for his son as did Kenneth Grahame James Mathew Barrie for protégés James AA Milne or the own JRR Tolkien Sometimes we will be touched considerably At least in some chapter I felt deeply moved Also despite being a novel halfway between realism and fantasy all in one of the stories because except that sometime the wishes are lengthened into two chapters but usually every wish is a chapter With all Nesbit in one of wishes you will use a resource which will be then used in many novels of fantasy science fiction uy I do not say that should the users of Goodreads who read this book find out for itself One of the positive things about this wonderful book is the number of writers who uote and Nesbit refers to them as to Rudyard Kipling or the own Anstey the author of vice versa a lesson for parents in fact the author herself in the final chapter tells us F Anstey book inspired her to end The brass bottle In this story a genius ask which desires does not perform them well and up to the end just getting his master in the bottle and replacing him getting rid of the problem by someone asked him wish this had not happened Nesbit also speaks a story of medieval adventures of Ralph de Courcy but I have not managed to find With all the Knight Sir Wulfric de Talbot left me a great mark Now we are going to talk about the crux issue why they have not given him four stars? We all know that Psamead or that is a fairy of sand which is leading in the hole since prehistoric times I think to tell the story to his son Nesbit was very strict with the chronology by what we will see many anachronisms I doubt that the primitive men asked him to Psamead Ictiosaurios and other types of lizards Nor does it seem very credible that the Psamead tell the story of the son of the Assyrian king when it was buried in prehistory How did it know if it was buried? Another thing is that the Psamead says that wishes only last a day but has the power so the maid Martha does not know and that lasts forever and also manage to make the Psamead to grant them the desire before ordering it How it is possible that you have so much power for one thing and then so little for other? Another thing that infuriates me is that children in particular to Anthea Panther You'll want to but the Psamead is somewhat obnoxious and since then I do not know the reader but certainly I do not fell I well It is the sullen and surly with what I found I also wonder if Robert has no part of reason to say if the Psamead is an evil fairy What says you Father Brown Flambeau in Sins of the Saradine Prince when he said that they wrote fairytale know than that you or when he says that he didn't say that it was wrong to enter into the Kingdom of fairies but always had danger in it That's the pay none of the wishes granted to boys goes well This is the difference that I have with Nesbit Why is so generous to the boys of The treasure seekers and instead is hard with these poor guys? In my opinion we learn hard lessons of life If the Psamead as they appreciate not want to or not it can grant wishes should have said from the beginning although of course but there would be no novel Yet I suspect that Nesbit was Socialist Fabiana with all the story we must recognize that makes no apology for socialism or tries to inoculate the reader Only lightly in The railway children is also a good novel I think it kind of Treasure hunters because they are poor and instead of these not is it mercy because they need to go We talked about my friend Alfonseca and I of this circumstance and said that left wing writers such as Aldous Huxley and Arthur C Clarke always felt preference for Buddhism I believe that Nesbit is something good that I learn to be happy with what we have but although the Psamead says that they are not asking well wishes My impression is that you except the final wishes I think Nesbit is wrong in one thing and it's not bad to want things provided that what is asked is good I think about my favorite series Doraemon The Gadget Cat from the future Inventions are not bad but the way that Nobita Suneo and Giant employ them I told a joke to my friend Alfonseca and said no I wanted you because we'll do it for you My friend told me that one of the stories that delves into the subject of how dangerous that is ask certain desires is the story of the hand of the monkey Not a big fan of the Simpsons I am lately but don't miss out on the fun Halloween that made this story of WW Jacobs I believe that the screenwriter had even worse bad grapes that own Jacobs The same thing happens I think with the desires The last wishes are a both absurd and are not as good as the middle Although there is one very funny that Nesbit get call and call to the Hilary Maur W baby lamb three ways and the uses of comic and hilarious way with much wit In short it is a very good book but a little bit has lacked to overcome that line that separates the good from the great All in all a very entertaining readingDamas y caballeros voy a intentar algo ue hasta el momento nunca había hecho escribir tres críticas en un día Desgraciadamente no pude conseguir escribir tres críticas el mismo día porue estuve ayudando a mi Jefe con las Actas y no me arrepiento me lo pase como un niño Este libro me ha gustado mucho mi nota es de 35 siendo Edith Nesbit era de esperar y como dije estuve pensando ponerle 4 estrellas pero ha habido varios factores ue me lo han impedido En primer lugar es ue yo pienso ue a los mejores hay ue exigirles y ciertamente Edith Nesbit tiene talento para mucho más Esta historia me ha gustado muchísimo pero no tanto como “Buscadores de tesoros” o sus cuentos de dragones En primer lugar creo ue debería explicar el motivo por el ue leí este libro Hace meses en abril leí ese libro de la “Historia de la fantasía” escrito por Silvia Pato y editado por la editorial Nowtilus pese a su sesgo anticristiano y feminista es un libro ue me gustó mucho y ue recomiendo pese a sus injustísimos prejuicios En ese libro se hablaba de Edith Nesbit yo ya conocía los “Cinco chicos y eso” en parte porue me lo recomendó Goodreads y por mis conversaciones con el Profesor Manuel Alfonseca Descubrí gracias a “La breve historia de la fantasía” ue “Cinco chicos y eso” estaba basado en un anime japonés ue yo veía en la tve1 cuando era peueño Shamed el Duende mágico ue me encantaba Con todo parece ser ue había diferencias ue iremos examinandoLo primero ue debo decir de este libro Es ue me ha gustado mucho la edición ue ha hecho la editorial El Paseo Debo decir ue seguiré a esta editorial con enorme interés Fue un acierto por parte de la editorial El Paseo rescatar los dibujos originalesEl comienzo uizá sea un poco más flojo de lo esperado pero están muy bien los siguientes capítulos ue están entre lo mejor ue se ha escrito en literatura infantil si Edith Nesbit hubiera mantenido ese ritmo durante toda la novela sin duda le habría puesto las cinco estrellas al libro Esas páginas me recordaron a los mejores momentos de “La edad dorada” de Kenneth Grahame y los Guillermos de Richmal Crompton Los Guillermos siempre serán una versión infantil del gran PG Wodehouse ue a veces incluso llega a superarlo pero volviendo a “Cinco niños y eso” uno de los mayores atractivos del libro es sin duda el tono moral y ético del libro Al margen de ue los cinco niños en este caso tres niños uno un bebe y dos chicas vivan unas aventuras increíbles Veremos cómo Nesbit les alienta contrala codicia cabe recordar ue estos cuentos Edith Nesbit los escribía para su hijo como lo hicieron Kenneth Grahame James Mathew Barrie para sus protegidos James AA Milne o el propio JRR Tolkien Algunos momentos nos enternecerán considerablemente Yo por lo menos en algún capítulo me sentí hondamente conmovido También pese a ser una novela a medio camino entre el realismo y la fantasía con todo en una de las historias porue salvo ue en algún momento los deseos se alargan en dos capítulos pero generalmente cada deseo es un capítulo Con todo Nesbit en uno de los deseos usará un recurso ue luego será utilizada en muchas novelas de fantasía uy ciencia ficción No digo cual eso deberán los usuarios de Goodreads ue lean este libro descubrirlo por sí mismo Otra de las cosas positivas de este maravilloso libro es la cantidad de escritores a los ue cita y a los ue Nesbit hace referencia como a Rudyard Kipling o el propio Anstey el autor de “Viceversa una lección para padres” de hecho la propia autora en el capítulo final nos dice ue libro de F Anstey la inspiró para el final “The brass bottle” En este relato un genio al ue le piden deseos no los realiza bien y encima al final acaba metiendo a su amo en la botella y sustituyéndole librándose del problema haciendo ue alguien le pidiese desearía ue esto no hubiera ocurrido También Nesbit habla de un relato de aventuras medievales de Ralph de Courcy pero no lo he conseguido encontrar Con todo me dejó una gran impronta el caballero Sir Wulfric de TalbotAhora vamos a hablar del uid de la cuestión de ¿Por ué no le he dado las cuatro estrellas? Todos sabemos ue Psamead o el Eso es un hada de arena ue se supone ue lleva en el agujero desde la prehistoria yo creo ue al contarle el relato a su hijo Nesbit no fue muy rigurosa con la cronología por lo ue veremos muchos anacronismos Dudo ue los hombres primitivos le pidieran al Psamead Ictiosaurios y otros tipos de saurios Tampoco me parece muy creíble ue el Psamead cuente la historia del hijo del Rey Asirio cuando se enterró en la prehistoria ¿Cómo lo supo si estaba enterrado? Otra cosa es ue el Psamead dice ue los deseos sólo duran un día pero tiene el poder para ue la criada Martha no se entera y eso dura para siempre y también se las arreglan para ue el Psamead les conceda el deseo antes de pedirlo ¿Cómo es posible ue tenga tanto poder para una cosa y luego tan poco para otras? Otra cosa ue me enfurece es ue a los niños en especial a Anthea la pantera le gustará pero el Psamead es un tanto odioso y desde luego no sé al lector pero desde luego a mí no me cayó bien Es lo más huraño y arisco con lo ue me he encontrado Además yo me pregunto si Robert no tiene parte de razón al decir si el Psamead es un hada maléfica Lo ue le apunta el Padre Brown a Flambeau en “Los pecados del Príncipe Saradine” cuando decía ue los ue escribían de cuentos de hadas sabían más de eso ue usted o cuando dice ue no dijo ue fuera malo entrar en el reino de las hadas sino ue siempre había peligro en ello Esa es la paga ue ninguno de los deseos concedidos a los chicos sale bien Esta es la diferencia ue yo tengo con Nesbit ¿Por ué es tan generosa con los chicos de “Los buscadores de tesoros” y en cambio es tan dura con estos pobres chicos? En mi opinión les hace aprender de forma muy dura las lecciones de la vida Si el Psamead como se apreciará no uiere o no puede conceder deseos debería haberlo dicho desde el principio aunue claro sino no habría novela Con todo yo sospecho ue Nesbit ue era socialista Fabiana con todo el relato hay ue reconocer ue no hace apología del socialismo ni trata de inocularlo al lector Sólo ligeramente en “Los chicos del ferrocarril” ue también es una buena novela Yo creo ue se apiada de los “Buscadores de tesoros” porue son pobres y en cambio de estos no se apiada tanto porue pasan necesidad Estuvimos hablando mi amigo Alfonseca y yo de esta circunstancia y me dijo ue escritores de izuierdas como Aldous Huxley y Arthur C Clarke siempre sintieron preferencias por el budismo Yo creo ue Nesbit trata algo bueno de ue aprendamos a ser felices con lo ue tenemos pero aunue el Psamead dice ue no están pidiendo bien los deseos Mi impresión es ue salvo los deseos finales Yo creo ue Nesbit se euivoca en una cosa y es ue no es malo desear cosas siempre ue lo ue se pide sea bueno Pienso en mi serie favorita Doraemon The Gadget Cat from the future Los inventos no son malos sino la forma en ue los emplean Nobita Suneo y Gigante Yo le conté un chiste a mi amigo Alfonseca y le dije no deseé usted ya lo haremos nosotros por usted Mi amigo me dijo ue uno de los relatos ue ahonda más en el tema de lo peligroso ue es pedir ciertos deseos es el relato de la “Mano del mono” No soy últimamente un gran fan de los Simpsons pero no se pierdan el divertido Halloween ue hicieron de ese relato de WW Jacobs Yo creo ue el guionista aún tenía peor mala uva ue el propio JacobsLo mismo pasa creo yo con los deseos Los últimos deseos son un tanto absurdos y no son tan buenos como los del medio Aunue hay uno muy divertido en el ue Nesbit consigue denominar y llamar al bebe corderito de tres maneras diferentes Hilary Maur W y la emplea de forma cómica e hilarante con mucho ingenioEn resumen es un libro muy bueno pero le ha faltado un pouitín para superar esa línea ue separa lo bueno de lo grandioso Con todo una lectura muy entretenida

  9. says:

    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 having to stop and explain things here and there because it's both old fashioned and British I think it's easier to read to yourself you can SEE how the name Anthea becomes Panther becomes Panty in baby talk but when someone reads to you that Anthea says Come to own Panty to the baby it just sounds weirdStill a fun book at least in my opinion

  10. says:

    I have chosen this rating because this book was really good and excitingI really liked Anthea and the sand fairyI would recommend this book for rebels and children with a big imagination