Related to: 'The Serial Garden'

Virago

The Gift Giving: Favourite Stories

Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey
Contributors:
Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey

Joan Aiken is justly famous for her Wolves of Willoughby Chase series of novels, but her greatest love was for short stories, which she wrote prolifically throughout her long career: '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.' From a princess who turned into a pirate parrot, to a procession of Father Christmases being 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.

Virago

The Kingdom and the Cave

Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey
Contributors:
Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey

'The Under People. They live in a huge Cave. They are thought to be boring upwards. Giant worms and flying ants. Underground magic.'Mickle, the palace cat, knows the kingdom is in danger. He can feel it in his whiskers and he has found a mysterious note in the royal library... (Yes, of course he can read, and speak - if he chooses to!) Mickle can't trust the King and Queen with his mission, so he and Prince Michael, with the help of their animal friends (and quite a bit of magic!), set out on a perilous quest to find the sinister Under People, discover their secret power and save the Kingdom of Astalon.In her first novel, written when she was only a teenager, Joan Aiken showcases the imagination, wit and storytelling zest that would lead to classics like Arabel's Raven and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

Little, Brown Young Readers US

Perfect Game

Matt Christopher
Authors:
Matt Christopher

Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Palimpsest, the Orphan's Tales series, Deathless and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with a small but growing menagerie of beasts, some of which are human.

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.

David Dalglish

David Dalglish currently lives in rural Missouri with his wife Samantha, daughter Morgan and dog Asimov. He graduated from Missouri Southern State University in 2006 and currently devotes himself to perfecting his craft. He spends his free time playing racquetball and watching PBS with his daughter.

E. Nesbit

Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) is perhaps most famous for writing The Railway Children and Five Children and It, but she was extremely prolific and wrote or collaborated on more than sixty children's books. Nesbit is today recognised as one of the most influential and innovative children's writers that ever lived, and is cited as an inspiration by many contemporary authors, including J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Saunders and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Even C. S. Lewis acknowledged the debt his Narnia series owed to her work - particularly the Bastable and Psammead trilogies.

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester, England, in 1849 but moved to America in 1865 after her father died and her family fell on hard times. There she began writing stories to earn money and soon became a successful novelist, playwright, and children's author. She wrote the classic novels, Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden.

Honest Lee

Honest Lee is a liar! You can't trust a thing he writes. He insists that his stories are true. And they're totally not! Then again, I could be Honest Lee, which would mean I'm lying and my stories are true. What's the truth? I have no idea. Honestly.

Karen Harrington

Karen Harrington was born in Texas, where she still lives with her husband and children. She is the author of Sure Signs of Crazy and Courage for Beginners. You can visit her karenharringtonbooks.com. -

L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery was born in 1874 on Prince Edward Island, Canada, where she spent her childhood living with her grandparents in an old farmhouse. A prolific writer, she published many short stories, poems and novels, many of which were inspired by the years she spent on the beautiful Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables and its sequels have always been amongst the most popular of children's classics. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942 and was buried on her beloved island.

Matt Christopher

Matt Christopher is the beloved and bestselling name behind more than 100 sports-themed books for young readers.

Matthew J. Gilbert

Matthew J. Gilbert is one of many Matthew Gilberts. Seriously. There's like a trillion of them. This particular Matthew Gilbert writes stories and has a nearly perfect mustache. When he's not writing about Classroom 13, he's watching monster movies, eating tacos, and singing made-up songs about his cats.

Michael Powell

Michael Powell is the author of numerous naughty, disgusting yet strangely educational children's books. He lives in Somerset.Trevor Dunton is still the same as was across the page, but will soon also be famed as the illustrator for the bestselling Joke Shop.

Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.

Peter Brown

Peter Brown is the author and illustrator of many bestselling children's books, including Children Make Terrible Pets and The Curious Garden. He is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor for Creepy Carrots!, two E.B. White Read Aloud Awards, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book award, and a Children's Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year.

Rumer Godden

Rumer Godden (1907-98) was the acclaimed author of over sixty works of fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Born in England, she and her siblings grew up in Narayanganj, India, and she later spent many years living in Calcutta and Kashmir. Several of her novels were made into films, including Black Narcissus, The Greengage Summer and The River, which was filmed by Jean Renoir. She was appointed OBE in 1993.

Sarah Dunant

Sarah Dunant is the author of six crime novels for which she won two Silver Daggers. Cultural commentator - for many years she presented The Late Show - she was editor of War of the Words (Virago 1994). Her two previous novels, Transgressions and Mapping the Edge, were the subject of major acclaim.

Sherri Winston

Sherri Winston is the author of President of the Whole Fifth Grade (a Sunshine State Young Readers Award selection), President of the Whole Sixth Grade (a Kids' Indie Next pick), President of the Whole Sixth Grade: Girl Code, The Sweetest Sound, and The Kayla Chronicles. She lives with her family in Florida.

Susan Coolidge

Susan Coolidge was born in 1835 in Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Connecticut. During the American Civil War, Coolidge worked as a nurse. Susan Coolidge loved writing stories even when she was a child, and What Katy Did is based Susan and her brothers and sisters when they were young. Susan, like Katy, was a high-spirited, imaginative little girl, who often got into trouble. Her realistic portrait of childhood set her apart from other writers of her time; instead of teaching morals, she was interested in her characters, their imperfections and the dynamics of a family. The 'What Katy Did' trilogy was a huge success.