Here are seven more stories about the Jones family and their riotous raven!
Arabel and Mortimer are back to cheer your autumn evenings in a bumper edition of Joan Aiken’s crazy tales with all the wonderful Quentin Blake illustrations.
Last seen on Jackanory read by the wonderful Bernard Cribbins, these stories have not lost any of their humour over the years, but you may have to explain a few things to younger readers – Joan Aiken couldn’t resist giving the Joneses some of the craziest inventions of the time for Mortimer to wreak havoc with in their house in Rumbury town London NW3-and-a-half…
When dreadful spoilt cousin Annie comes to stay, Joan Aiken supplies her with radio-controlled tiddlywinks, a solar powered skateboard and a computer guitar that makes up its own music – she was ahead of her time, but not by very much! And of course these terrible toys soon lead to trouble:
I will leave you to imagine what happens next!
In another story Mortimer makes a very unexpected new friend – we meet Archibald, who in his younger days had been a cracksman’s mog (that is, a burglar’s assistant!) and was able to open any door or get down any chimney… Archibald is summoned to the Jones house in Rainwater Crescent, because Mrs Jones, while preparing to entertain the Rumbury Ladies’ Kitchen Club to a coffee morning, and frantically busy trying to make an enormous number of prawn fancies and iced macaroons, has seen a mouse!!! And not just any mouse, but the Advance guard and A.A. Scout for an army of starving mice from Cantilever Green who are desperately looking for pastures new, and who has been lured into the Jones kitchen by the delightful smell of all those macaroons:
So Arabel is sent to Mrs Catchpenny’s corner shop to borrow Archibald, and of course Mortimer goes along for the ride. The combination in Mrs Jones’s kitchen of Archibald, Scout F stroke B7, a fantastic amount of ill-fated ‘cordon-blue’ cookery (made with the help of all the Jones household’s trouble saving electrical equipment) and Mortimer, makes a great tale… oh yes, and also there is a certain Professor Glibchick desperate to record Mortimer making his famous one word pronouncement…except this time Mortimer says Nothing.
But when Mortimer confronts Archibald, who is by now happily well fed (he opened the larder door and found the prawns, then slept on the trays of warm macaroons in the airing cupboard and is now covered in crushed macaroon, clotted cream and feathers) he is entranced, and thinking he is a giant owl, starts pursuing him up the stairs:
Did we know Mortimer had a mother? Nevermore!
This is a mere ‘taster’ of the delights on offer in this wonderful long lost collection, which also includes Mortimer’s Cross and the fantastic Mortimer’s Portrait on Glass, where Mortimer meets an ancient ancestor in Ireland. I have to confess these stories still make me laugh out loud, but these days, something we absolutely need is a bit of craziness….
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Puffin edition also has added Extras – Do you remember…?
and Much more!
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