Five Children and It by E.Nesbit
published 1902 chapter 9
observations: A second visit to this splendid book. One of the children, annoyed with their baby brother, has thoughtlessly said ‘I wish … he would grow up’ in front of the sandfairy, the Psammead, with predictable results. Wishes are never really allowed to work out too well in story books, and this is no exception, but the moral isn’t hammered home too hard. The Lamb is rather unfortunate in his name – the book isn’t nearly as sentimental as that makes it sound – but not as unfortunate as his sister Anthea, who has the eye-catching nickname of Panty. (She could make friends with Titty from Swallows and Amazons, and form a League of Misnamed Heroines).
The deadpan jokes are as appealing to adults as to children:
"Autre temps autres mœurs," said the creature.
"Is that the Ninevite language?" asked Anthea, who had learned no foreign language at school except French.
The blog is second to none in our admiration for another great children’s author, Frances Hodgson Burnett – a close contemporary of Nesbit – but you can’t imagine FHB making a joke like that. Nesbit is much funnier, more ironic, more modern.
Links up with: The grown-up baby resembles this young man from Saki. The Three Men in a Boat are nattily dressed. Jacqueline Wilson wrote a lovely modern day follow-up, Four Children and It.
The picture is of the silent movie star Buster Keaton. He looks a lot like Sheldon Cooper from the TV programme Big Bang Theory.