Nesbit, Edith. 1902. Five Children and It. Puffin Classics. 237 pages.
The house was three miles from the station, but before the dusty hired fly had rattled along for five minutes the children began to put their heads out of the carriage window and to say, 'Aren't we nearly there?' And every time they passed a house, which was not very often, they all said, 'Oh, is this it?' But it never was, till they reached the very top of the hill, just past the chalk-quarry and before you come to the gravel-pit. And then there was a white house with a green garden and an orchard beyond, and mother said, 'Here we are!'
Robert, Anthea (Panther), Jane, Cyril, and Baby (Lamb) have come (along with their parents, of course) to spend some time in the country. But circumstances being what they are--parents in general being more a nuisance in a children's adventure story than anything else--the children are often all on their own except for some slight interference by Martha their nurse-maid. It is while they are exploring the gravel-pit that the children--much to their surprise--discover a sand fairy, a Psammead. (He is quite a character!) The children are granted a wish a day (thereabouts)...and thus the adventures begin.
They may have their wish a day, but their wish ends at sunset. And as they discover, this is a VERY good thing!
I daresay you have often thought what you would do if you had three wishes given you, and have despised the old man and his wife in the black-pudding story, and felt certain that if you had the chance you could think of three really useful wishes without a moment's hesitation. These children had often talked this matter over, but, now the chance had come suddenly to them, they could not make up their minds. (17)
This one is a funny adventure novel starring brothers and sisters who know how to get in and out of trouble and then some! I'm so happy I finally read this one. It was such a joy to read.
© Becky Laney of Young Readers