Related to: 'The Kingdom and the Cave'

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 Serial Garden

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

'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.

Catherine Webb

Catherine Webb was just fourteen when she wrote her extraordinary debut, Mirror Dreams. With several novels already in print at just 19, Catherine has quickly established herself as one of the most talented and exciting young writers in the UK.

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.

Colby Sharp

Colby Sharp is a co-founder of the online community Nerdy Book Club and its off-shoot conference, Nerd Camp, two popular monthly Twitter chats, #Titletalk, #SharpSchu, and The Yarn, a podcast about bookmaking and the creative process.

Dustin Mackay

Dustin Mackay is an animator and story artist for Disney and most recently worked on Planes: Fire & Rescue and Tinkerbell: Legend of the Neverbeast. Dustin lives in Cypress, California.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) is increasingly recognised as one of the best British writers of the twentieth century. She wrote her first book, At Mrs Lippincote's, during the war while her husband was in the Royal Air Force, and this was followed by eleven further novels and a children's book, Mossy Trotter. Her acclaimed short stories appeared in publications including Vogue, the New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar.

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.

Francesca Lia Block

Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books of stories, nonfiction, and fiction, including the Weetzie Bat books, her series of magical-realism novels. She has received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award, and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association, the New York Times Book Review, and Publisher's Weekly.

Helen Dardik

Helen Dardik is a professional illustrator and a surface pattern designer based in Ottowa, Ontario. Born by the Black Sea, she lived in Siberia for a time and then moved to Israel, where she studied art and design. She later got a graphic design degree and found work as a designer and illustrator in Canada.

Henry Clark

Henry Clark is the author of What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World. He has contributed articles to MAD magazine and published fiction in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, in addition to acting as the head phrenologist at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a living-history museum in New York. He lives on Long Island.

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.

Katrina Charman

Katrina Charman lives in a small village in the middle of South East England with her husband and three daughters. Katrina has wanted to be a children's writer ever since she was eleven, when her school teacher set her class the task of writing an epilogue to Roald Dahl's Matilda. Her teacher thought her writing was good enough to send to Roald Dahl himself. Sadly, she never got a reply, but the experience ignited her love of reading and writing. She is the author of a number of forthcoming picture books and leveled readers.

Kent Clark

KENT CLARK is a superhero by day, and a writer by night. When he's not getting cats out of trees or saving the world from monstrous alien supervillains, he's reading a book. He also has a terrible weakness-he can't say no to tacos, comic books, or video games.

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.

Max Brunner

Max Brunner began his professional career as lead writer for David World's Press's popular web comic, Barbiespawn. He's a hardcore comic book nerd and a debut author. Max lives in Cypress, California.

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.