Monday 25 September 2017

Reviewing the Classics #11 Five Children and It

Goodreads Summary:

When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother start exploring a gravel pit not far from their new countryside home, they make an unexpected and very curious discovery. The gravel pit is home to a Psammead, a sand fairy. This ugly creature has eyes like a snail, ears like a bat and the body of a spider, and is very grumpy indeed. He grants the children one wish every day, and though they are excited to have all their desires fulfilled, they soon realize that having one's wishes come true can have unexpected consequences...

E. Nesbit's much loved children's tale has enchanted generations of readers, and has been adapted for the screen numerous times - most notably by the BBC in a hugely popular 1990s series. It remains one of the most cherished children's classics ever written, and an indispensable part of every young reader's library.

So for this months classic, I have been reading Five Children and It by E.Nesbit. I remember loving The Railway Children when I was younger, but for some reason I never read Five Children and It. I was actually surprised when I found out that The Phoenix and the Carpet is a sequel to this book, as I remember seeing a stage adaptation and loving it!

Five Children and It follows siblings Anthea, Jane, Robert, Cyril, and their baby brother, who is known as the Lamb. When the children move to a new home, they discover a strange creature in a nearby gravel pit who tells them that he is a Psammmead, a wish granting sand fairy, who will grant the children one wish per day. I always love the idea of wishes being granted, especially by children, who are liable to wish for more interesting things than adults. We have all heard the phrase “be careful what you wish for”, but what if this advice was given to someone who found a way to make their wishes come true? This is exactly the theme of Five Children and It, as although the children wish for things that they believe will be fun or improve their lives, their wishes often backfire on them and get them into trouble.

One thing that I instantly loved about this book was the chapters. Each chapter focused on a different day and a different wish, and was like it's own short story. I loved that non of the chapters ended on a cliffhanger, as although I was eager to find out what the next wish would be, I felt like I could comfortably put the book down at the end of any chapter without feeling as if I needed to immediately know what happened next. I thought this was a brilliant set up for a children's book, as I felt it would be a good book for parents to read to their children as a bedtime story, as they could read a chapter a day.

I often feel as if the characters in children's books act too grown up for their age, so I loved how the children actually acted like children, and were believable characters. I loved all of their wishes, and how they didn't play out like the children thought they would. I also loved when they started accidentally making wishes, as these proved to be even more disastrous!

I loved how, although the children were siblings, each child had a completely different personality, which often caused arguments amongst themselves on how they should deal with the situations they got themselves into. I particularly loved Anthea, as she had a very clever and bossy Hermione-ish attitude. She is the type of character who I would have thought was very cool when I was younger, and who I would have looked up to. I also loved Robert, as he was usually the one to accidentally wish for something. I particularly loved his accidental wishes, and thought they were the most interesting ones.

One of my favourite parts of the story was how they wished for their maid and cook to not notice any of their wishes. This made for some hilarious moments, and I particularly loved Martha carrying a grown man, as she saw him as a baby. I also loved how while one of the wishes was in effect, the children couldn't see or feel the food that the cook had prepared, and could only eat it by biting over a seemingly empty table.

The Psammead, the “It” of the story was an interesting character. I felt as if he was a little like the Genie from Aladdin, as he was unable to grant wishes for himself, and after living for thousands of years, had become tired of constantly granting wishes. I loved how there was a little bit of backstory, which included what people used to wish for thousands of years ago, and how water was fatal to the Psammead. Although I found his grumpy nature funny, I did feel sorry for him towards the end of the book, as all he wanted was some peace and quiet, and I think we can all relate to that.

At only 200 pages, I was surprised by ow action packed the book was! There was definitely not a dull moment, and the action never slowed down at any point. I adored all of the fantasy elements, and how fantasy was mixed perfectly with reality. From castles to giants, this book has everything to impress even the most imaginative child. I recommend this book to both children and adults who enjoy fantasy stories!

Five Children and It is now available to purchase!

 Alma Classics  | Amazon Book Depository 

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