Five children and it audiobook
Five Children and It (Five Children #1) by E. NesbitI 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 and/or Edwardian literature.
Five Children and It was published in 1902 and is the first novel in Nesbit’s Psammead trilogy, which consists of Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904), and The Story of the Amulet(1906). In Five Children and It, a group of siblings (Anthea, Robert, Cyril, Jane, and a baby who is referred to as the Lamb) find the Psammead in a sand quarry near their home in the English countryside. The Psammead is a sand fairy able to grant wishes. This classic takes us to Edwardian England, where horses and buggies were the most common form of transportation, and servants looked after the children.
*If you are spoiler-averse, you may want to stop reading further.*
The most successful aspects of Five Children and It were the world-building, the authentic relationships between and amongst the children, and Nesbits writing style. I could relate to the children and their emotions. They were described and interacted in a way that fit their ages and I found them to be differentiated in age-appropriate manners. Nesbit’s writing style struck just the right tone for me, between communicating a moral and having fun. The morals weren’t overblown or eye-rolling. The vocabulary didnt strike me as dumbed-down for children, but it also was not as flowery and ornate as Frances Hodgson Burnetts contemporaneously written works and was a style I found highly appealing.
For 75% of the book, the adventures worked for me, and my pre-6th-grade self would have adored this book because it doesnt talk down to children and is sufficiently complex to appeal to adults. The sexist and racist elements (one chapter involves gypsies) grated on me but were tolerable, if Nesbit’s handling is appropriately appreciated as progressive in the context of her 1902 peers, until I encountered Scalps (it describes an adventure populated by “red Indians”) which made me want to take a shower. YMMV. The last story involving the mother and stolen (or magically relocated) jewelry was unsuccessful for me, and I am not certain why - although I suspect that the mothers involvement in the story makes it less of an adventure and more of a problem to be solved; less charming and imaginative and more dire.
As with the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series, the chapters of Five Children and It read like a series of only-lightly-connected short stories, some of which were more successful than others. It was great fun, though, a super-quick read (6 hours perhaps?) and I recommend it to anyone who reads the description and is intrigued, or who is a fan of Edwardian classics.
Background on the author: E. Nesbit was born in Kennington, Surrey in 1858. The death of her father when she was four years old and the continuing ill health of her sister meant that Nesbit had a childhood absent focused adult attention, and frequent moves. Her family moved across Europe in search of healthy climates for her sister, only to return to England for financial reasons. Growing up, she lived in France, Spain and Germany in addition to various locations in Great Britain. Her education came from a combination of periods in local elementary/grammar schools and the occasional boarding school but predominately through reading. Nesbit wanted to be known as a poet and in her teens had a poem published. This gave her greater confidence to write more, both for adults and children, but it is for her 60+ childrens books (including those on which she collaborated with other authors) she is best known. She distinguished herself from other writers of her time by writing about children as they were, and rewriting conventional adventure stories to present them with female characters in lead roles.
Her friends included HG Wells and George Bernard Shaw. She also was a political activist and a follower of William Morris and she and her husband Hubert Bland were among the founders of the Fabian Society, a socialist organization later affiliated to the Labour Party. Nesbit was an active lecturer and prolific writer on socialism during the 1880s.
Interesting links and articles (which may, necessarily, include spoilers):
Your IP Address in Germany is Blocked from www.gutenberg.org
The Psammead is a magical sand fairy who has the power to grant wishes: but the children can only have one wish a day, and the wishes only last until sunset. This was mysteriously missing from my shelves, so it got added to my Christmas wishlist and reread accordingly. Still wonderful even after years; few people have ever written children as convincingly as Edith Nesbit notably, btw, her children are seldom orphans, although the parents tend to be conveniently absent for whatever reason , who also throws in a little of her own social conscience for the adults: "If grown-ups got hold of me," says the Psammead, " A London family takes a modest house in the country for the summer, and the five children discover a sand fairy with the power to grant wishes. Cyril, Anthea, Robert, and Jane, and their two-year-old brother whom they call the Lamb, also discover that wishes aren't always all they're cracked up to be. What could be more harmless than Jane's wish that they all be "as beautiful as the day"? How could wishing for untold wealth--in gold coins--go wrong?
Get Your Free Audiobook
Cancel anytime. Myrtle Meek has everything she could possibly want. She wants more, more , MORE! What is a FING? Mr and Mrs Meek will do anything to keep their darling daughter happy, even visit the spooky library vaults to delve into the dusty pages of the mysterious Monsterpedia.