Five Children On The Western Front by Kate Saunders

The Bonds Of Love

Five Children On The Western Front by Kate Saunders is a charming children’s historical tale. It follows on from E. Nesbit’s Five Children And It written a century earlier. This novel is set from 1914 onwards and two more children have been born into the original family. It is every bit as delightful and retains the same enchanting quality as the original.

The reader witnesses the love, care and compassion the family members have for each other. The Psammead is a charming but grumpy sand fairy who has a loving bond with the children. The adventures they have are charming.

The Psammead has always been rather selfish and full of himself. His powers are diminished until he learns to repent. We follow his journey through the war years as he softens and learns valuable lessons along the way.

Kate Saunders paints the horrors of war through the attitudes and actions of the characters. Obviously as this is a children’s book, there are no graphic details. Adult readers will be able to fill in the details in their minds. Many young men joined up. Many were killed or injured with horrendous mental and physical scars. Minds and bodies forever trapped on the battlefield as nightmares in the minds began. Whole communities were devastated. War always leaves scars.

I found the climax of the book incredibly powerful and moving. Tissues were definitely needed.

Five Children On The Western Front is a marvellous novel however old or young you are. I loved it.

JULIA WILSON

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