'It' is a Psammead, an ancient, ugly and irritable sand fairy the children find one day on a secret beach at their uncle's mansion. It grants them one wish per day, lasting until sunset. But they soon learn it is very hard to think of really sensible wishes, and each one gets them into unexpected difficulties. Magic, the children find, can be as awkward as it is enticing. Written by
Never released to theaters in the U.S., where it played only at film festivals before being shown on U.S. cable TV. See more »
Despite taking place in circa 1917, the children sing "Happy Birthday to You", which wasn't written until 1924, and didn't game popularity until around 1930. See more »
It was the Summer of nineteen seventeen and the world was at war. Like lots of children, we had to leave our home. - Leave London. We didn't want to go, but Dad went to fly planes, and Mum went to look after the wounded, and we were stuck. They insisted we go to the country, to stay with mad Uncle Albert and our cousin Horace.
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A few weeks ago I picked up a very charming children's book called 5 Children and It. Written by E. Nesbit and originally published in 1902 or thereabouts, it's a remarkably modern-sounding tale about a family, with maid and cook, who go to the country for the summer. The father has to work in the city, and the mother is called away on some business, and the children are left to their own devices under the care of the maid and cook, who are happy as long as the children stay outside all day and don't mess up the house, and show up for meals and bed on time. So far an extremely believable story that anyone who has rented a summer place can relate to. The children discover a magical creature called a psammead ("sammyadd") which grants them one wish a day. Minor misadventures ensue, with each succeeding day another chapter in the book. The children learn to be careful in their wishes and to think ahead. A good life lesson. Then they made a movie. Movies can't be about ordinary people because then we would all start thinking we're equal. This family has sent Father off to World War I as a flying ace, Mother as a dedicated volunteer nurse, and the children go to a large country home on the cliffs of Dover to stay with their batty uncle, evil cousin and a mysterious woman who is neither the uncle's wife nor just a housekeeper. It doesn't matter because she just provides plot devices necessary to carry along the movie version which is wholly different from the book except for the character's names and two of the wishes. Imagine if the movie version of Harry Potter had included Dr Xavier and the X-Men characters and been set in wartime because some pinhead producer felt that J K Rowling's story didn't have enough flash and mawkishness. If you've seen the movie, read the book. If you've read the book, skip the movie. There was a BBC version made in the early 1990s. I'm going to find a copy of that and have a look. This book was that good.
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