This classic of children's literature dates from 1902. Four children -- Robert, Anthea, Jane, and Cyril (the fifth is their infant brother known as Lamb) -- are playing at a sand pit when they stumble on a Psammead: an ancient sand fairy that will grant a wish a day, which lasts only as long as the sun is visible. Over the succeeding days, the kids learn how many ways that wishes can backfire on them -- they wish for money they can't get anyone to accept, beauty that makes them unrecognizable to their family and servants, wings that leave them stranded on a rooftop, a castle under very real siege by a knightly army -- and how to choose well and avoid having to lie. The storytelling style is quaint but the tale is skillfully told.
This report prepared by David Loftus
Although it's hard to categorize in this system, Five Children and It is one of the all-time classics of children's literature - and, unlike some classics, it's still a barrel of fun to read today. Four children (Cyril, Anthea, Robert, and Jane) - the fifth child mentioned in the title is their baby brother, the Lamb - are staying in a house in the country for the summer when they discover a strange creature called the Psammead. The Psammead is an exceptionally curmudgeonly creature who, if properly appeased, can and will grant one wish per day - but the effects only last until sundown. One wish after another goes badly for the children, as they are thwarted repeatedly by the Psammead. When they wish for wings, they get stuck on the roof of a house. When they wish for beauty, they are shut out of their own house. When they wish for riches, they get it but can't spend it. And so on. Eventually, the magic puts them in a moral quandry that they must resolve.
This report prepared by Ivy