Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
First book of The Psammead Trilogy
Finished: May 20, 2008
First Published: 1902
Genre: children fantasy
Reason for Reading: Decades Challenge. Read aloud to my 7yo
The house was three miles from the station, but, before the dusty hired fly had rattled along for five minutes, the children began to put their heads out of the carriage window and to say, "Aren't we nearly there?"
Comments: Four children and their baby brother stumble upon a Sand Fairy and learn from It that he can grant them one wish a day but the wish will only last until sunset. They quickly learn that making and getting wishes is not as easy as it seems. They wish for the wrong things at the wrong time and even when they get it right it never turns out as they thought it would. Such as when they wish they were all beautiful and return home to find that the servants don't know who they are and turn them away. And when they wish the baby was grown up, and all grown up he does become, even older than they and what a stuffy, snobby man he turns out to be. Some wishes so do turn out fun such as when they wish for wings, only they forget to get home in time and at sunset find themselves stuck on the top of a church roof. Lot's of fun!
E. Nesbit is credited with creating modern fantasy where fantastical creatures or elements become a part of the 'real' world. Even with having been written over a hundred years ago the writing and style is immensely readable. The 7yo loved this book very much. He found it quite all very exciting and wants to continue on with the series. This is an old-fashioned type of story (all the horse and carriages for instance) and it is very British plus this time period in England was very class conscious which makes it a bit hard for a modern North American child to comprehend at times but most of it was a non-issue. I loved these books when I was a kid and loved this just as much this time as an adult. The 7yo boy is anxious to read more about this group of children and their magical adventures. Recommended.