Edith Nesbit

Nesbit is one of my favourite children’s authors. She is also well represented on Project Gutenberg – a huge bonus. Five Children and It has been a fun read-aloud, though the chapters are on the long side. Her book of adventures in Grammar-Land looks excellent, though I have only read the online sample and it doesn’t appear to be on Project Gutenberg.

The reservations with her work really kicked in while reading her book The Story of the Amulet, the sequel to the sequel of Five Children and It. The Amulet goes rather too far in the direction of spiritualism and includes a flash forward in time to a socialist utopia. To cap it off the ending is rather creepy. The Psammead series, as the three books are known, remains a great work, but I’d leave The Story of the Amulet out if reading them aloud to children.

Her entry in the Wikipedia says she was a co-founder of the Fabian society. Her socialist background makes all the more sense with her book The Railway Children where the father is under arrest for something to do with the “beautiful” writing of the Russian gentleman the children find at the station.

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