Five Children And It - E. Nesbit 1902 - T. Fisher Unwin, London - First Edition A fine first edition of this magical tale bound by Bayntun Riviére of Bath, illustrated by H. R. Millar with forty-six black and white plates – Cyril, Athena, Robert, Jane, and baby brother, Lamb, are exploring the land around the house their parents have rented for the summer when they find the sandpit. They decide to dig a hole straight through to Australia. Their plan is interrupted when Athena discovers a magical creature hiding in the sand. It is a Psammead, and it can grant wishes.

The children stood around the hole looking at the creature they had found. It was worth looking at. Its eyes were on long horns like a snail's eyes, and it could move them in and out like telescopes; it had ears like a bat's ears, and its tubby body was shaped like a spider's and covered with thick soft fur; its legs and arms were furry too, and it had hands and feet like a monkey's.’

Psammead:
I am a Sand Fairy!
Jane: A Sand Fairy? I thought fairies had little ballet dresses and wings and wands.
Psammead: What on earth have you been reading?
Jane: I'll call you Sandy.
Psammead: Why?
Jane: Because we found you in the sand.
Psammead: You're so funny. Have your parents tried boiling you?
  “Edith Nesbit [1858-1924], was a mischievous, tomboyish child who grew up to be an unconventional adult. She and her husband were founder members of the socialist Fabian Society and their home became a centre for socialist and literary discussion. Their friends included some of the time’s greatest writers and thinkers, including George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells.

Everything about Edith showed her as a woman trying to break out of the mould demanded by English society at the time – she expressed her individuality through her clothes, hairstyle, lifestyle and her habit of speaking forcefully on almost any subject. She lived her socialism and late in life her charitable deeds brought her close to bankruptcy.

E. Nesbit – she always used the plain initial for her writing and was sometimes thought to be a man – started to write for children after years of successful writing for adult magazines. She was asked to write about her childhood but instead of facts chose to describe her happy girlhood in fiction. The result was books still read today, firm bestsellers for decades. She was brilliant at combining real-life situations with elements of fantasy and humour.” – Heidi Green,
William Morrow.

8vo. pp. [2] xv [1] 301 [3]
  Finely bound by the Bayntun-Riviere bindery in full crimson morocco, one line gilt panel on covers, spine lettered and dated in gilt with one line panels and tooled bands, hand marbled endleaves, all edges gilt.   Condition: Fine   Ref: 102383   Price: HK$ 12,500