Maria's Reviews > Five Children and It

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
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Jan 23, 10

bookshelves: young-adult-n-z
Read from January 16 to 23, 2010

I must have gotten this on a trip to Spain because there is a sticker on the back that says it cost just over 5 pesetas and is from an English bookshop. The American price is just over $2 which is shocking to me given today's prices. I must be getting old.

I really want to give this book 2.5 stars because there are things I really like about it but then lots of stuff that is just so-so. Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the historical aspect, the things the children wore, the expected standards or grammar and behavior,the different means of conveyance pre-car. I remember loving the large family as a child and how each child had a role and they fought but everyone loved one another in the end. It seems a little cutesy through adult eyes which is what made me hesitate to re-read it but it read more quickly than I had imagined. It also has that peculiar, jokey, direct address where the author talks to the reader in a sometimes educational sometimes playful sort of way. Another thing that was interesting to me about the time period are things that seem out of step with today's world like the passage where the author advises that the only way to get sand out of a baby's eye is to "lick it with your own soft, wet tongue". I'm torn between hygiene and expediency on that one. I can't decided if it is very innovative or if it is a terrible idea which I fear means I am naive. The other part that stuck out to me was when a maid casually called her coworker a slut which, in context, seemed to mean she was lazy. Anyway, I think the book was interesting, some funny parts particularly with regard to the baby, but I don't know that, in the end, it comes together. I'm going to revisit some of Nesbit's later books to see if I warm up to them.
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