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Four Children And It (Jacqueline Wilson)

FOUR CHILDREN AND IT (Puffin. 2012) is Jacquline Wilson's homage to her favourite E Nesbit book FIVE CHILDREN AND IT, although it's not quite a centenary tribute, the book having been first published in 1902.
In Nesbit's original the five children discover a sand-fairy, a weird-looking creature called a Psammead, who grants wishes which the children take full advantage of, and have all sorts of magic adventures. But the magic has strict rules - the enchantment wears off at dusk - and the five sometimes have problems because of it.
In JW's new book four modern children meet the Psammead and have wishes granted and have adventures. But this, being a Jacqueline Wilson story these children are not quite the secure middle-class children of E Nesbit's original, they have problems.  There are stepsisters and divorced parents and all that sort of dysfunctional stuff.  But the children are totally believable. So are their parents. And so are their wishes. For example they ask to be rich and famous - and in a trice they are. One girl becoming a famous pop-star and another a great writer.  I liked the wish where the children wish to meet Nesbit's original five in 1902, and our storyteller ends up in a Workhouse. JW's social conscience is never very far away.  And JW borrows Nesbit's idea where the children can fly and discover that having wings is not so wonderful as it at first seems.  And where the small boy asks to meet the characters from nursery rhymes who turn out to be tedious. There's lots of descriptions of food and drink. The four go on several picnics and their delicious-sounding food is appetisingly described.  
An enjoyable read.

Sounds good, thanks for that, when my daughter went through the Jacqueline Wilson phase a few years ago I got to know her work quite well, and a number of her books are quite good I thought.

My particular favourite was Vicky Angel - the story of a about a young girl's struggle with her grief over losing her best friend, it was very well written and touched on and handled a sensitive subject very well.

I knew Jacqueline Wilson in my local paper days when she was living in Kingston and writing crime novels and thrillers.  I found them very enjoyable.

As time went by, I noticed that she didn't seem to be producing any more thrillers.  It wasn't until quite a few years after that I realised that the highly successful children's writer was the same person as the thriller writer I once interviewed.
Green Jay

I only know her as a children's writer. It is interesting how writers come to prominence. I think it was Joanna Trollope who wrote historical romances under another name before she became very successful with her Aga sagas.
Green Jay

I always loved Five Children & It, reading it several times and enjoying the televised version. The message I took from it, though not in a preachy way, was that we think we are going to be much happier with our heart's desire but actually the normal world is better, with all its irritations - and wishes always have untold and undesired complications. A good message for nowadays, when phenomenal numbers of children only want to be 'famous' (not famous for any particular skill or talent) when they are grown up.

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