Five Children and It by E. Nesbit is an Edwardian children’s adventure originally published in 1902. There are no parents or guardians to stop the fun, and the children know where to find fun! In this adventure, four children and their baby brother come across a sand-fairy, who is able to grant them wishes that last until sunset. But the sand-fairy does not like to give them wishes, and when the children make wishes, things don’t turn out as nicely as they’d hoped!
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is one that I’m sure I would have loved reading as a child. As an adult, I was once again impressed with how sophisticated the language was in a classic children’s novel: there is no talking down to children, even though this was definitely a children’s book.
My 5-year-old son’s favorite wish that they made was to have wings, and it was a fun adventure when they had wings. When they wished for a castle, Robert was trapped outside and he had to make another wish to get back inside! Each day we’d finish reading together and my son would ask, “What will they wish for next? Will you keep reading?” It took a lot of will power to hold off until the next day! Some of their wishes had hilarious results.
I received a complimentary copy of Five Children and It from Oxford Children’s Classics. This edition has a beautifully illustrated cover (even if the sand-fairy does not look quite like the description in the text). It is free of errors and a nice solid feel in my hands. For my young son’s sake, I wished there were internal illustrations, but even without them, I’m delighted to have such a lovely children’s classic on our bookshelf.