Edith Nesbit was to children in the early 20th century what J.K. Rowling is to today's young generation. Magic, mythical creatures, time travel, charms, words of power... Nesbit's stories have it all.
This recording is the complete collection of Edith Nesbit's Psammead series, comprising three captivating stories:
Five Children and It.The story begins when a group of five children - Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane, and their baby brother, the Lamb - move from London to the countryside of Kent. While playing in a gravel pit, they discover a rather grumpy, ugly and occasionally malevolent sand-fairy known as the Psammead who is compelled to grant one wish of theirs per day. The effects of each wish last until sundown. All the wishes granted to the children go hilariously wrong. When they wish to be beautiful, nobody recognises them and they are shut out of the house. When they wish to be rich, they get a stack of gold coins but nobody will take them. When they wish for wings they find themselves stuck on a tall tower at sunset. When they wish that their baby brother was older, he turns into a grown-up and bosses them about. When Robert wishes he was bigger than the baker's boy (who has beaten him in a scrap) he becomes eleven feet tall. There are many more adventures... but you will need to listen and find out for yourselves....
The Phoenix and the Carpet. This is the second story about Robert, Anthea, Cyril, Jane, and their baby brother, the Lamb - who live in London. One day their mother buys a new carpet for the nursery which mysteriously contains a stone egg. When the egg falls into the fire by accident, nobody can possibly imagine what adventures will be unleashed. The egg hatches the Phoenix who reveals that the carpet is in fact a magic wishing carpet, which will take the children on a rollercoaster ride of adventures, scrapes and mishaps. They end up stuck inside a tunnel with buried treasure, on a sunny Southern shore where their cook is made Queen of the Island, having tea with the Rania in India, and even when they are at home in Camden town they mysteriously and unexpectedly become the owners of an unfeasibly large number of cats.
The Story of the Amulet. The magic Psammead is back! This time the four children are stuck in London for the Summer, when they come across the Psammead (or wish-giving sand-fairy), imprisoned in a pet shop. They manage to free him, and he tells them where they can get hold of a magic amulet which will bring them their hearts' desire. Unfortunately when the amulet is secured, it is incomplete. They and the Psammead must travel back into ancient history to see the part of the amulet which was lost. The children experience one breathtaking adventure after another in Babylon, Egypt, the lost city of Atlantis, Tyre...
©1905 Public Domain (P)2013 Red Door Audiobooks
The stories definitly feel over a century old, and that's part of the fun of reading it now.
I chose this because The Phoenix and the Carpet is read by a character in another book that I love. That character is reading aloud to children, but stops. I always wondered if the children were left hanging, but now I know that the books are episodic, so just reading to the end of a chapter would be satisfying.
Cathy Dobson's narration is nice. It isn't always easy to tell one child character's voice from the next, but it almost doesn't matter. They do sound different from the adults, the magic creatures and the baby, Lamb.
"Cornerstone of Children's Literature"
This is a fine, slightly off-kilter performance of a fine, slightly off-kilter set of books. Cathy Dobson has a very warm and confiding style, with an old fashioned quality that fits the Edwardian stories. She also reads with a strange catch in her voice, a little hesitation that was at first irritating, but became very engaging. And what tremendous stories! Constantly surprising, constantly inventive, constantly forcing its audience to question, without ever being preachy - whenever there's the possibility of preaching, they remember it's been a long time since dinner, and scoot off home for mutton fritters(!?!). The Lamb, and the petting of the Lamb, is nauseating, but the story with the grown-up Lamb recontextualises even that character.
I enjoyed this trilogy. Only decided to buy this as I'd purchased Five Children on the Western Front (2014) and in a review it was deemed best to know the original story. At times the narrator stumbles over a word or two and at times you can hear her turn the pages.
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