Kate Saunder’s Five Children on the Western Front

I learned about this title when it was shortlisted for the UK Costa Award and immediately ordered it from the UK. I’ve now read it and here is what I wrote on goodreads:

I’m a fan of Nesbit’s original FIVE CHILDREN AND IT, but I’m not sure it is necessary to be familiar with it to enjoy this intriguing and elegantly crafted sequel.

Nine years after their last meeting with the Psammead (a grumpy sandfairy), he suddenly shows up in his old gravelpit. Cyril, Robert, Anthea, and Jane are now young adults, the Lamb an active eleven-year-old, and there is now one more — Edith, age nine. World War I has begun and is the center of this tale. It turns out that their old magical friend has a problematic history that he needs to resolve, most of all to feel some sort of regret. The young people’s involvement with the war twists around the Psammead’s not-so-pleasant behaviors of his far-off past in ways moving, exciting, and sometimes sad. There are references to their earlier experiences, the nature of wishing, and how to consider the past. Beautifully written, this is a tale that I hope sees publication and promotion in the US.





Filed under Review

7 responses to “Kate Saunder’s Five Children on the Western Front

  1. Mary Emerson-Smith

    There is a laudatory review of this book in the October 18th Guardian, which is online and easily googled.


  2. I think I did the exact same thing you did, Monica (heard about it via the Costa Award nomination and ordered it forthwith). I was familiar with Kate Saunders’s work–we had shortlisted Beswitched for the Cybils a couple of years ago–but I think she outdid herself here.


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