Somehow I missed reading Five Children and It
when I was a child myself, so when I saw a copy at a yard sale I had to buy it. It only cost 10p, and the little girl who sold it to me looked rather like an E. Nesbit heroine, very serious, with huge dark eyes. The plot is a variant on "be careful what you wish for", one of her favourite themes. Some of the episodes are excellent, and it's full of delightful asides. But the construction is rather loose, and the ending is weak. I think she was dissatisfied with it and rewrote it a few years later as The Enchanted Castle
, to my mind her clear masterpiece.
So, if you're as much of an E. Nesbit fan as I am, I definitely recommend reading this book. If you like classic children's novels and aren't familiar with her work, skip straight to Castle
. You won't be disappointed.