Five Children and It


While their parents are away, some English children discover an ancient and rather grumpy sand-fairy known as the Psammead, who agrees to grant one wish of theirs per day; and they rarely turn out the way it was expected. But then, you already guessed that it wouldn’t, didn’t you? 🙂

At first, the children have no clue what to wish for and their wishes end up landing them in trouble. For example, the girls wish to be as beautiful as the day, but this turns disastrous when they are not recognized for themselves and are turned away from their house. Of course, all ends well by twilight, when their wishes go away.

And so it goes with each child taking turns wishing for something or the other.

My Review

This is a delightful book for the most part. At times, the author gets a little too preachy. But, all in all, it’s a wonderful and easy book to read (and to read out to kids). My edition of the book was slightly battered but still I loved the quaint illustrations and the beautiful and descriptive writing guaranteed to appeal to both children and the child-like :).

You want examples? See here a description of the Psammead:

It had eyes [that] were on long horns like a snail’s eyes, and it could move them in and out like telescopes; it had ears like a bat’s ears, and its tubby body was shaped like a spider’s and covered with thick soft fur; its legs and arms were furry too, and it had hands and feet like a monkey’s and whiskers like a rat.

Just the above sentence had me in a slight dreamworld while I tried to work out for myself what the creature looked like – only for me to turn the pages and see this sweet illustration (note: my copy of the book had a slightly different cover, which did not include the Psammead) looking very similar to what I had imagined it to be.

The Psammead actually pronounced as Sammyad

The Psammead actually pronounced as Sammyad

I also liked her little asides when she commented on some particularly foolish behavior of the children. It says a lot for her writing style that an adult reader a century and a continent away could enjoy the books with such unbridled pleasure!

The book ends in a sort of cliff-hanger, letting the readers know that this is not the last we have heard of the children or the Psammead.

They did see it again, of course, but not in this story. And it was not in a sand-pit either, but in a very, very, very different place. It was in a — But I must say no more.

Doesn’t that just make you want to pick up the next book in this series? I checked online and found that 2 more books complete this trilogy:

  • The Phoenix and the Carpet
  • The Story of the Amulet

I know I will definitely be going back for more 🙂 .

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  • I am embarrassed that I have not read this book before — but I liked your review a lot — I choose this book for the giveway!

  • hi nishita. blog-hopped from here or there.

    had to comment here because this book was a recent gift and is a total hit with the 9 yr old in these parts. nesbit’s other famous book – the railway children was devoured coupla years back by her and was equally liked. will check the sequels you mention -didn’t know about them, so many thanks.

    • @choxbox: Thanks for visiting and commenting. Nice to hear that you all enjoyed the book 🙂

  • Hi, found your blog via the Indiblogger vine and I love it! Really glad to read about Nesbit’s books. I haven’t tried them out yet but given your review, I definitely will. Thanks for sharing this review as well as the others. Am always on the lookout for good reads!
    Blessings and best wishes

    • Thanks Prerna for visiting and commenting. Yes, I would recomend this book. It is a sweet and innocent read (somewhat in the tradition of the Enid Blytons that we were used to as kids).

      And I love Indivine too, it has helped me find some great blogs 🙂

  • I haven’t read these books for years. I think Nesbit is one of those authors you have to read as a child, and then you’ll be able to reread her as an adult and still enjoy her books. Your review makes me want to reread all the books in this series!

  • yaaayyy… this is one i have read… and trust me i enjoyed every bit of it..
    even saw the movie.. actually it was the movie that provoked me to read the book 🙂
    how are you feelin now nish??

    here’s something to cheer u up… A thank you award 😀

    • @megzone: There is a movie? I didn’t know. Would definitely like to see it if I ever get the chance. Such a sweet and innocent story, no ?

  • Had never heard of these books until now . Will surely look for these. Sound very cute 🙂 Hows Snubnose now? Hope she is feeling better .

    • @Shweta: She’s doing much better, Shweta. Thanks for asking 🙂

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