A volume of Joan Aiken's own favourite stories, collected here for the first time.
'Joan Aiken's invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come' PHILLIP PULLMAN
'Favourite stories, like unexpected presents, are things that you can keep and cherish all your life, carry with you, in memory, in your mind's ear, and bring out, at any time, when you are feeling lonely, or need cheering up, or, like friends, just because you are fond of them.'
Joan Aiken is justly famous for her Wolves of Willoughby Chase series, but her greatest love was for short stories, which she wrote prolifically throughout her long career
From a princess turned into a pirate parrot to a procession of Father Christmases chased down Fifth Avenue by a rackety horse and cart; from the ghost of a crusader's dog, to a captured mermaid in a flying machine, there is something for everybody in this enthralling collection. These stories showcase Aiken's unique talents - the way she mixed magic and myth with humour to create a kind of modern fairytale. Her stories will appeal to readers of all ages for many years to come.
WITH BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS BY PETER BAILEY
Witty and endlessly inventive - Chris Riddell
Joan Aiken's invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come - Philip Pullman
It is the mixture of irrepressible gaiety and invention with the tragic that makes Aiken one of the great children's authors . . . impossible to calculate the number of people who have enjoyed her books - who have had some magic injected into the mundane - Sunday Telegraph
She was a consummate story-teller, one that each generation discovers anew - Amanda Craig
Joan Aiken is the author of over a hundred books for adults and children, many of them classics. She worked on the magazine ARGOSY and wrote hundreds of short stories before her first novel THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE was published in the early '60s. It was highly praised in Time magazine and its success allowed Joan to write full-time thereafter. She has said, 'I would never want to do anything but write stories. It is inventing your own world, using all the bits of the real one that you like best. And that is something you can do anywhere, at any time.'