This is a sweet, old-fashioned story about four siblings who discover a magic coin. The eldest, Jane, picks it up on the sidewalk one day and quickly discovers it grants wishes. Except that it only grants half the wish. So when Jane wishes for a fire, she gets a small fire, only enough to burn down a playhouse.
Thus follows the short and exciting adventures of Jane, Mark, Katharine and Martha, along with their mother and a man named Mr. Smith. The children travel to the Arabian desert, they meet Merlin at King Arthur’s court, and they cause complete chaos in the town centre. It is, of course, a classic tale of “be careful what you wish for” but it’s also a great story of siblings and portrays them in an honest, funny matter. These are siblings who have all the normal rivalries and conflicts but also care about each other and look after one another, even as they’re fighting over who has to wash the dishes.
Eager writes for children respectfully but with great fun. I had never read this children’s story before but I can see why it is something of a classic. I would recommend it for readers aged 8 to 12.