Five Children and it, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Its eyes were on long horns like a snail's had ears like a bat's ears, and its tubby body was shaped like a spider's and covered with thick, soft fur...and it had hands and feet like a monkey's. 'It' was the Psammead, the grumpy sand-fairy that could, if in the mood, grant a wish a day.

When the five children befriend him they find that each wish granted often has a sting in its tail.

Golden guineas are too difficult to spend, wings let them down in a most inconvenient way, and when they wish for Red Indians, the children forget that they can sometimes be a little warlike.

Generations of children have come to love the fantasy and the whimsy of the stories in the classic book from the author of The Railway Children.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic
  • ISBN: 9781853261244


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This was mysteriously missing from my shelves, so it got added to my Christmas wishlist and reread accordingly. Still wonderful even after 100 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 social of her own social conscience for the adults: "If grown-ups got hold of me," says the Psammead, "… they'd ask for a graduated income-tax, and old-age pensions, and manhood suffrage, and free secondary education and dull things like that, and get them and keep them, and the whole world would be turned topsy-turvy."

Review by

Not sure why I have this marked as 'to read'. I loved this a lot when I was younger -- my copy is a hand-me-down from someone else who loved it, and therefore very battered. The tone is a little preachy at times, but the story is fun.