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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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Top Customer Reviews
I love E. Nesbit.
She writes in a way that is intelligent, snappy, and funny - at least to an adult. There are a lot of little side jokes in the book that seem to be aimed at the parent reading the book. I do think her books may be funnier to grown-ups looking back at childhood than they are to actual children.
And I'm afraid that many of today's children, made into literalists by the media and generally not appreciative of complex, "archaic" or "overly British" (at least among American kids) language may not get it. Which is a pity, really. The Nesbit stories are so good - so imaginative, so full of good use of language. I have read a number of her stories, but I think this is my favorite. It is basically an expansion of the old saying "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it". Five children find a Sand-Fairy (or Psammead) that can grant them wishes. But the sand fairy is a cranky literalist, who interprets the wishes of the children just as they are and wild things happen (e.g., the children wish for great beauty, and then the people around them don't recognize them). This is an extremely entertaining book. Unfortunately, I suspect it may be beyond some of today's youngsters who tend to lack patience with complex or older language.
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!