Helen Cresswell was the author of many children's stories which I enjoyed as a child and then others which I have used with classes in school.
My favourite of all her books is 'A Gift from Winklesea', and re-reading it was such a pleasure!
When Dan and Mary go to the seaside for the day, they choose a lovely present for their mother- a beautiful stone, mounted on a pedestal of cockles with the words 'A Gift from Winklesea' in gold letters on it. To their surprise, the stone turns out to be an egg which becomes warm and hatches, revealing 'a most perfectly beautiful neat, grey little creature'.
No one is quite sure what the Gift is, but he creates havoc and eats a great deal of fish. Everyone adores him, but in the end, the lure of water is too great and 'Winkie' leaves the family to return to the sea.
Very much of its time, 'A Gift from Winklesea' is a charming little story. From the children opening their money boxes full of pennies, being allowed to take a pound only as spending money, to being able to buy the gift for forty pence which left enough for a packet of crisps each, it speaks of a different time. But this doesn't mean that children won't enjoy reading it today!
There are three books about 'The Gift', each one a lovely story for newly confident readers. My version is a 'Young Puffin', but it was reprinted in 1996 by Hodder Children's so these are the details given below.
A Gift from Winkleseaby Helen Cresswell
Hodder Children's ISBN: 978-0340646427