After moving into their summer home in the English countryside, five brothers and sisters go digging in the local gravel-pits and make a curious discovery. At the bottom of a hole, the children find a strange furry creature which they learn is a Psammead, or Sand-fairy. The Psammead has magical powers—it can grant each child one wish a day. The children take advantage of the Psammead’s abilities, but soon their wishes have unforeseen consequences. E. Nesbit describes their adventures in casual and witty prose, and she’s never patronizing to her younger audience. Instead, she invites her readers to understand the realities of living in a grown-up world, which has its difficulties, no matter the level of magic involved. The book has remained timeless since its 1902 publication—it has never gone out of print—and has influenced a wide range of adventure narratives, including The Chronicles of Narnia. —Annabel Gutterman

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