Five Children and It is a book that resonates on two levels. On one level, it is an outstanding and well-drawn children’s story. We read it to our own children to general acclaim. On another level, it is a glimpse of upper-class child-rearing in Edwardian England, very interesting as social history to today’s adults, even with no children around.
This is a very famous book, not quite children’s fairy tale and not quite adult allegory—or rather, it’s both, and more. As fairy tale and as allegory, it has so light a touch as to be ethereal, combined with a feeling of enormous substance. There is, for child or adult, little obvious moral, yet the reader is left with a feeling of transcendence. Quite an accomplishment in what is really just a short story, and doubtless why the book is still famous today.