by Edward Eager
I got this book at a used sale thinking my older daughter would enjoy it, but sat down and read it in one morning by myself. And it's great. Laugh-out-loud funny in parts, good characterization, a solid lesson about getting what you wish for. There's even some subtle family dynamics and pointers on behaving decently to other people, with the siblings squabbling, helping younger ones (or not) and the oldest daughter upset at her mother's interest in a possible suitor (only she of all the children remembers their deceased father). Even though it was published in the early fifties and is set a few decades earlier (motor vehicles are a new invention, messages are sent by telegram and when the children go to the movies, it's silent pictures so they get cross with the youngest for begging to have the words on the screen read out loud!) it's written in a way that still feels completely accessible.
I am pretty sure I once read this book from my elementary school library- I distinctly remember the cover. But I had forgotten almost everything except the basic premise, and I'm sure most of the references went over my head back then- the author pays homage to E. Nesbit, Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Anderson, T.H. White, Little Women and many other authors and literary works. It helps that the kids in the story love to read, and another main character owns a bookshop!
Rating: 4/5 192 pages, 1954
Framed and Booked