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 recongnized 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.
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.
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 🙂 .