What a pity this recording comes with such a wishy-washy illustration, guaranteed to put children off. It is pure joy, not least because it will keep any child of 8+ completely quiet for 3 hours. Nesbitt's classic tale is being filmed, and perhaps this will encourage more children ot try her wonderful stories, told in the voice of the kindest mother imaginable.
Five children- one of the a baby, known as the Lamb (whose delightful and frightful characteristics are honestly portrayed) leave London for their first holiday in two years at the white house in the country. It isn't long before they discover a "Psammead" in the gravel-pits, a sand-fairy who has not surfaced since dinosaur days (Nesbitt's paleontology a bit shaky here) when children used to ask it for a nice Megatherium for breakfast. Our own children of course ask for all the obvious things - beauty, riches, wings, adventures. They all go hilariously wrong, and if the long-suffering maid Ellen gets a husband out of it, it's only by accident.
There are no tedious moral messages, except perhaps that it isn't wise to try and tell adults the truth, and that you should always have your dinner before you have an adventure, but the freshness of this enchanting book is undimmed. The reading is first-rate, and interspersed with perfectly chosen music from Naxos's archives. Much, much better than the BBC recording. I also recommend the Cover to Cover audiop version of The Phoenix & the Carpet. Let's hope the third book in the trilogy, The Sotry of the Amulet, isn't long in appearing.