Beth Bonini's Reviews > Five Children and It

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
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Mar 22, 12

bookshelves: children-s-book-club
Read in March, 2012

This is basically a version of the "three foolish wishes" folktale, with some original elaboration. One of the original bits is that Edith Nesbit featured a family of five children (two boys, two girls and a toddler) instead of the orphan or only child more common in children's fantasy books of the time. Nesbit was a hugely successful children's writer in the early 20th century, and her novels impacted most of the writers who came after her. Indeed, I immediately thought of Enid Blyton -- and her children's adventure novels from the mid-20th century. Nesbit is still read, too. I don't think she holds up as well as Burnett -- and certainly this book has none of the emotional or thematic complexity of The Secret Garden -- but the story only feels really dated in the dialogue.

The main problem, as an adult reader, is that it is all very samey. The children find a sand-fairy who grants them a wish every day. Each wish has unforeseen (and unfortunate) consequences, and the children are mostly quite happy when sunset comes and the wish fades away. It is charming in its way, but by the end, I was forcing myself to finish it.
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