They just don't write children's books like this any more, do they? That's such a shame, because this for me was like taking a journey back to my childhood when my primary school teacher read this aloud to us. I can also remember watching the television show of the same name on Children's BBC and being fascinated (and freaked out) by the psammead!
The magical story unfolds with a family moving to a big white house in the countryside; the children are exploring a gravel pit one day when they encounter a Psammead (pronounced sammyadd)- a sand-fairy. The sand-fairy is a strange little creature but of course the children are intrigued and are soon chatting away with it like they have known him forever- and its even more interesting when they find out he can grant wishes...
Though this is a lovely old-fashioned book and very imaginative, the author creates such vivid scene-setting that as a reader you are able to envisage the sights and surroundings so clearly, without the prose being too overly descriptive or pretentious. One of my very favourite descriptive paragraphs is near the beginning; "...the valley looked as if it was filled with golden mist, and the limekilns and hop-drying houses glimmered and glittered till they were like an enchanted city out of the Arabian Nights." Just lovely. That's only one wonderful description of many in this charming book. The author also addresses the reader as `you' so really pulls you into the story alongside the mischievous children and their adventures. I can remember being curled up on the reading rug at school and listening to my teacher read this aloud to us and how mesmerised everyone was. I really hope to read this to my own (future) children one day!
A beautiful, whimsical tale for adults and children alike.