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The Serial Garden
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'I wish we'll have two children called Mark and Harriet. And I hope lots of interesting and unusual things will happen to them. It would be nice if they had a fairy godmother, for instance. And a phoenix or something out of the ordinary for a pet. We could have a special day for interesting and unusual things to happen - say, Mondays. But not always Mondays, and not only Mondays, or that would get a bit dull' As a result of their mother's honeymoon wish, Mark and Harriet Armitage have a fairy godmother, a pet unicorn, and are prepared for anything life can throw at them (especially, but not always, on a Monday): hatching griffins in the airing cupboard, Latin lessons with a ghost, furious Furies on the doorstep, and an enchanted garden locked inside a cereal packet. Life with the Armitages can be magical, funny, terrifying - but never, ever dull.
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About the Author

Joan Aiken (Author) Joan Aiken (1924-2004) was born in Rye, Sussex. She was the daughter of the American poet Conrad Aiken, and her step-father was English writer Martin Armstrong. Joan Aiken wrote over 100 books for young readers and adults and is recognised as one of the classic children's authors of the twentieth century. Her best-known books are The Wolves of Willoughby Chase chronicles and the Arabel's Raven series, but she is also famous for her brilliant short stories. Joan Aiken received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the United States as well as the Guardian Award for Fiction. She was decorated with an MBE for her services to children's books.

Reviews

Joan Aiken is a superb storyteller who refusal to skimp on sophisticated language, and the Armitage parents' droll indifference, is guaranteed to give children and parents a Ready Brek glow * The Times, Children's Book of the Week * A delightful summary of one side of Aiken's talent: whimsical, funny, a series of brilliantly imaginative ideas stitched together with dream logic... 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 * A writer of wild humour and unrestrained imagination * Oxford Companion to Children's Literature * Often bonkers stories, always written with cut-glass precision . . . Aiken is a superb storyteller * The Times * Inexhaustibly imaginative, Aiken was one of the twentieth century's greatest children's authors. Witty, zany and entirely sane, this is a necklace of diamonds -- Amanda Craig * New Statesman * A delightful whimsical set of stories about young Mark and Harriet Armitage and the fantastical things that just happen to them, where if the lawn is full of unicorns you can count on their father to rush out and try to stop them eating the roses. These stories are funny and often unexpectedly poignant. They also don't have a wasted word or scrap of information. They're both charming and genuine in a way that few things manage -- Jo Walton A writer of wild humour and unrestrained imagination * Oxford Companion to Children's Literature * She was a consummate story-teller, one that each generation discovers anew -- Amanda Craig * The Times * 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 What a thrill to discover this gem from the witty and endlessly inventive Joan Aiken -- Chris Riddell

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