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Five Children and It (Puffin Classics) Paperback – September 11, 2008
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Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books
Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award
Praise for Penguin Drop Caps:
"[Penguin Drop Caps] convey a sense of nostalgia for the tactility and aesthetic power of a physical book and for a centuries-old tradition of beautiful lettering."
“Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers…. Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of Great Expectations? Because they’re beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische’s fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen’s A (Pride and Prejudice) is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte’s B (Jane Eyre) is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf."
—Rex Bonomelli, The New York Times
"Classic reads in stunning covers—your book club will be dying."
—Redbook --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Edith Nesbit (1858–1924) began writing stories for children after a popular children's magazine of the time approached her to write pieces about her childhood. The result was a series of bestselling children's books that have remained firm favourites, including The Railway Children, The Story of the Treasure Seekers and The Phoenix and the Carpet.
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The language is a bit different from what we use today but it never felt cumbersome or boring. In fact, the "old-fashioned" feel really made the story that much more fun. Of course, of all the interesting words and phrases that we read and talked about, my daughter decided to start using the term "stow it" which the 2 brothers impolitely used on each other! Actually, I confess to having used the phrase a few times myself since we finished the book!! This book is definitely still relevant to today's reader and I highly recommend reading it to your child.
Spoiler alert: at the end of the book the Psammead asks Anthea to make a wish for him. He wants her to wish that the children will never be able to tell anyone about him. Anthea agrees and makes the wish. I was stasified with that ending but my daughter correctly pointed out that since the wishes only last 24 hours they could just tell about the Psammead the next day if they wanted. Great point!! Her astute conclusion made the story suddenly feel not quite as neatly wrapped up as I thought so perhaps we will move on to the sequel!
BUT my eyes watered the minute I opened the book - the type is ridiculously small. It's the typeface you expect out of a condensed dictionary. Out of curiosity, I compared current word-processing font sizing and the otherwise lovely serif font sizes out between 10 and 11 points.
It's a real shame, because this volume is lovely except for, well, the reading part.
"Five Children and It" is a classic tale of adventure featuring five children, i.e. Robert, Anthea, Jane, Cyril, and their baby brother. They decide to dig a hole through the Earth to discover if those living on the other side walk upside down. Imagine their shock and delight when they find a sand fairy called a Psammead (pronounced as Sammyadd). The Psammead's nature is to grant wishes, but he warns the children that the wishes granted will come undone at sunset. Naturally, with a bunch of gregarious youngsters, things are bound to go awry when wishes are not planned with precision and careful thinking!
I recommend this delightful fantasy story for curious and imaginative children ages eight and up.
I would say this book is suitable for children of seven to fourteen, and doesn't really require any explanation of old-fashioned terms, but there can be much gained from discussing them.
But I read it and thoroughly loved it. So when it came up on Kindle I bought it andread it again.
I would suggest this for children to read at 6 or so and on, and to read it to them even a little earlier.
It is basically a fairy story, as three orphan children find a spirit in the sand who can make a wish come true each day. And every wish goes wrong. Great story.