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Five Children and It
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Five Children and It (Five Children #1)

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  18,088 Ratings  ·  749 Reviews
While exploring the environs of their summer home, five brothers and sisters find a Psammead, or Sand-fairy, in a nearby gravel pit: “Its eyes 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 to ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published 1902)
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Zoe.M In the front of the copy I read it says 1900. So from 2017, 1017 years ago!
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Community Reviews

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Carol
I read Five Children and It with the Women’s Classic Literature Enthusiasts group and enjoyed it immensely. If you like Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and its series' mates by Betty MacDonald, you will like Five Children and It. The ideal child reader of this book is between second and fifth grade, with a fondness for historical fiction or British classics. (For comparison, this is substantially easier reading then C.S. Lewis’ fiction.) The ideal adult reader is anyone who enjoys classic children’s novels a ...more
Manny
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I missed reading Five Children and It when I was a child myself, so when I saw a copy at a yard sale I had to buy it. It only cost 10p, and the little girl who sold it to me looked rather like an E. Nesbit heroine, very serious, with huge dark eyes. The plot is a variant on "be careful what you wish for", one of her favourite themes. Some of the episodes are excellent, and it's full of delightful asides. But the construction is rather loose, and the ending is weak. I think she was dissat ...more
Jan-Maat
Although only written a couple of years earlier this was quite a different world to The Railway Children. It is a very simple kind of children's story. The parents are got rid of – not by sending the children away to school, nor by having them eaten by an escaped hippo from the zoo, but by the rather quaint expedient of having them go away on business.

Living in the Kent countryside between a chalk quarry and a gravel pit (view spoiler)
...more
Margaret
Nesbit is the great-grandma of pretty nearly all the children's fantasy books we love, the first author to write really wittily for kids and without condescending to them, and the originator of the basic structure that carries on through C.S. Lewis and Edward Eager and even in a way Jo Rowling: four children, usually siblings or cousins but sometimes friends, stumble on a magical something that leads them into a series of fantastic adventures and important discoveries (gently conveyed) about the ...more
Sandy
This is a perfectly delightful story of the misadventures of five siblings who are granted a daily wish by a prehistoric creature who lives in the sandpit near their home. One of the eleven chapters would, by modern standards, be deemed racist. However, this fault might be overlooked when the reader considers the date of publication and could be used as a teachable moment if reading with a child. All in all, this entertaining tale elicited many chuckles and the occasional loud guffaw! The most f ...more
Jessica
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book as a child, and read it over and over. The idea of having a wish every day is so appealing, but then seeing how it goes hilariously wrong day after day is great, too. I read this aloud to my kids (July 2015), and though my 10yo liked it, my 6yo was less engaged. I found myself having to stop and explain things here and there, because it's both old-fashioned and British. I think it's easier to read to yourself, you can SEE how the name Anthea becomes Panther becomes Panty in bab ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, childrens, funny
Five children practically left on this own in a English countryside. This book was published in 1902, almost 50 years before C. S. Lewis wrote his The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

However, the similarity ends there. The story of Five Children and It does not bring you to a magical world at the back of a wardrobe. Rather, what the five children, Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane, and their baby brother, the Lamb find is a Psammead or a sand fairy has gotten buried in the sand since the Stone Age. T
...more
Oliviu Craznic
Though children literature, extremely entertaining - much unlike other children books (Hobbit or Martin`s Ice Dragon, for example - I was not able to read - or at least to finish - them as an adult). Highly recommended. ...more
Kwoomac
This novel was written in 1902. The author Edith Nesbit tells the story of five children (obviously) who come across a psammead, a sand fairy, while playing in a deserted gravel pit. This is one of the earliest examples of children left on their own who then have great adventures. Tha family goes to a house in the country on holiday when their father is called back to work and their mother leaves them to take care of her own sick mother. The children are basically on their own, minimally supervi ...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
This mini review is part of a blogpost talking about three children's classics.

I chose Five Children and It as my last classic of the year because it was my book club's January pick because most of us also wanted to read Kate Saunders' Five Children on the Western Front . Like Little Women (although I think it's more intentional in Five Children and It), each chapter is like a short story about the group of siblings who each make a wish that the Psammead (a sand fairy) grants, with often chaoti
...more
Samantha
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book just was not for me. I think if I had read it as a child I would have liked it a lot more. I found it so repetitive and the children to be obtuse. If I had not listened to the audiobook I'm not sure I would have gotten through it. Very well written, it was the story itself I did not care for. :(
Barb Middleton
Ever read a book that you know is supposed to be funny, but you didn't find it so? I chuckled once in awhile but for the most part I got tired of the children's adventures that inevitably went wrong. Nesbit does a nice job capturing the nature of these children. They are loyal to each other and squabble at the same time. Maybe it is because I'm an adult. Maybe I've read too many genie-in-a-bottle stories and its become clichéd for me. Or maybe the adult narrator with comments on being a child di ...more
Kat  Hooper
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 stars
Originally posted at FanLit:

Five Children and It combines eleven stories that Edith Nesbit wrote about five siblings who discovered a wish-granting fairy called The Psammead in the sandlot of the house they recently moved into. The stories were originally serialized in shorter form in Strand Magazine in 1900. The first story (the first chapter of the novel) tells how the children moved from London to Kent, explored their new house and yard, and found the Psammead. He grumpily agrees to
...more
Tocotin
It was one of my favorites when I was little. I'm surprised and sad... I don't like it at all now. Don't hate it either, but... The children are forcibly cute, neither intelligent nor sensitive (especially towards their inferiors; the adventure with the baker's boy was simply odious), there is a lot of really STUPID (as in, unnecessary and excessive even for the period the book was written) sexism, and there is quite a big dose of preaching, and also xenophobia... really sad.

I may try the next b
...more
Deborah Pickstone
Five children, one Psammead and a morality play about taking care what you wish for. E. Nesbit's charming children's books will always stand up well. I remember the first time I read this when I was five; it had a bright yellow paperback cover and I was enchanted at the thought of an ancient sand fairy. We did not live near any beaches so I was mainly unable to search for one at that time, be that for the better or for the worse!
Nina
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Be careful what you wish for--
.
.
'It' was the Psammead, a sand fairy who could grant a wish a day. In the past people had asked for mammoths, megatherium and creatures as big as elephants to eat. Five children; Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane and Lamb, found and befriended It. Everyday It granted their wishes; the children asked for golden guineas which turned out to be difficult to spend, wings, castle under the siege, be beautiful as the day, be the biggest man as a giant, and made everybody want t
...more
Marie Willingham
Reading children's classics to see which ones my kids would like. I liked this a lot, especially the tone of the narrator. I wonder how children today would cope with some of the more dated ideas and details, but the sheer imaginative fun will never date. Apparently one of CS Lewis's favourites.
Krista
Jul 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nesbit is the grandmother of children's fantasy literature. Written in 1902, Five Children and It can be considered to have inspired many who came later, including Edward Eager, whose Tales of Magic series owes a great debt to Nesbit (this Eager freely admits)

The book shows its age but it is much more accessible than the other books I've read that she penned. Five siblings find a creature who will grant one wish a day and madcap hilarity ensues, replete with political incorrectness and reference
...more
Dolly
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We have enjoyed reading Edward Eager's Tales of Magic series. In each book, he mentions how he was inspired by E. Nesbit and specifically, this story.

So we finally got around to listening to this story together. I even borrowed the movie from our local library. We also followed along with the story with the Hardcover edition illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (ISBN13 978068135454) and we loved the dozen or so color illustrations that really capture the era of the story.

interesting quotes (page nu
...more
Lynai
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you can have one wish, what would it be? This could be a tough question to answer. How about this: If you know a fairy who can grant your every wish, what will you do? These are the questions that confronted five children – Cyril, Robert, Anthea, Jane, and Hilary, the baby who is also fondly called as Lamb – when they discovered a Psammead (pronounced “Sammyad”), or sand-fairy, in a gravel pit near their house. With the primary characters now named, it is fairly easy to infer who the five chi ...more
Kirsty
Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=064vd...

This was just such a nice nostalgia trip for me. I'm sure I used to watch a TV program of this story when I was younger as I can remember Psammead, who is a sand fairy. This story follows the adventures and situations five children find themselves in once they discover Psammead and find out he will grant one wish between them all each day.

I find it impossible to be too harsh on this story because it is literally a children's classic and I thi
...more
Dave
May 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best book title ever. Love E. Nesbit's narrative voice. Some choice bits:

"Trees are all different, as you know, and I am sure some tiresome person must have told you that there are no two blades of grass exactly alike. But in streets, where the blades of grass don't grow, everything is like everything else. This is why so many children who live in towns are so extremely naughty. They do not know what is the matter with them, and no more do their fathers and mothers, aunts, uncles, co
...more
Sally
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, ebook
This is an age-old fable tale of "be careful what you wish for," told in a way that is entirely suitable for children to read or have read to them. I would suggest the appropriate audience age would be 6-11 or 12. It is not heavy reading and only about 2 hours long (audiobook), but it is an entertaining tale even some adults might enjoy. I think books of this sort appeal to children, or the adult who remembers childhood, because the main characters are children themselves. The way the story chil ...more
Anna
2-2,5 stars.
At first I thought I wasn't in mood for this book, but then I realised that even in my happiest and most cheerful moments I didn't enjoy this book whole lot.

I remember really liking the movie adaptation and laughing out loud few times while watching it, but I haven't got this effect with book, which disappointed me...:(
Didn't like any of the characters (humans, I mean, because Psammead was fun little dude - ha, he'd be furious for calling him "dude"), kids were really annoying and t
...more
Hollowspine
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
What a lovely and fun book!

I read this story aloud with my family while on vacation, which really was perfect.

It wasn't what I expected at all, which was a more whimsical British fairy-tale with a moral lesson, but what I got was far superior. The story was very clever and would be fun for both children and adults to read, especially together. I can imagine better readers than myself putting on voices for each of the characters, which would heighten the fun even further. I may even look around
...more
Austen to Zafón
I wish I'd read them earlier, but I didn't read Nesbit's books until I was in high school. This was the first one I read and I loved it. The children are refreshingly normal. They bicker, they make mistakes, they are tender but also sometimes selfish. I found later that that is a hallmark of Nesbit's writing. In this story, the five sibling's find a grumpy but magic creature who will give them one wish every day. Of course, wishes don't always work out as one planned. If you loved Half Magic or ...more
Ramona Wray
There's nothing better then rereading some favorite classics with your children. In that respect, this year has been a really good one for me and my son. He enjoyed the adventures of Robert, Cyril, Jane, Anthea and The Lamb a lot. He asked questions, fervently professed his dislike for the cunning sand fairy, and I dare say learned some things from the five children's trials. One thing is certain: one SHOULD be careful what one wishes for :D
Kelsey Bryant
What a dear book! One of my favorite children's books ever, and this is the first time I read it. E. Nesbit is a master at her craft. The children are endearing and true to life. Even in their selfishness, they somehow won my heart. They don't mean harm; they just have some life learning to do. The story is ingenious. Anything could happen!
I'm extremely curious about the sequels. . .
Ginny
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the adventures of these 4 very real children, turned loose in the country for the summer. I recognized myself and my siblings in the friendship, conflict and feelings of responsibility between the children. And the taking care of the baby.
Bilbo Baggins
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cute story!! :)
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Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connec
...more
More about E. Nesbit...

Other Books in the Series

Five Children (3 books)
  • The Phoenix and the Carpet (Five Children, #2)
  • The Story of the Amulet (Five Children, #3)

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“For really there is nothing like wings for getting you into trouble. But, on the other hand, if you are in trouble, there is nothing like wings for getting you out of it.” 12 likes
“Grown-up people find it very difficult to believe really wonderful things, unless they have what they call proof. But children will believe almost anything, and grown-ups know this. That is why they tell you that the earth is round like an orange, when you can see perfectly well that it is flat and lumpy; and why they say that the earth goes round the sun, when you can see for yourself any day that the sun gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night like a good sun it is, and the earth knows its place, and lies as still as a mouse.” 5 likes
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