It was a dark and stormy night (of course!) when Mortimer entered the life of Arabel and the Jones family – and Rumbury Town N.W.3 and-a-half would never be the same again. Arabel’s Raven is the first of the many tales of his adventures with the Jones Family told by Joan Aiken and masterfully characterised by Quentin Blake’s illustrations. The devoted pair appeared on a series of Jackanory readings, and then in books and a puppet series for the BBC which earned them a following of fans of all ages.
It was love at first sight – and forever – for the pair who Joan Aiken rather wickedly described as her version of the relationship between the ego and the id – Arabel never does anything wrong, and Mortimer does what he likes:
Before too long chaos reigns in Rumbury Town, and Mortimer (through no fault of his own of course!) is in the thick of it:
Amazingly he does, with the evil squirrel strapped to his back, and is soon holed up in the gangsters’ hideout – while Arabel goes into a decline, wondering where her friend can be? But soon everyone is on his trail… and now strange things are happening at Rumbury Tube station, but no one can solve the mystery?Pretty soon everyone is going round the bend, and it is up to Arabel to keep her wits about her and unravel the hilarious trail of chaos that leads her back to Mortimer…will she ever be parted from him again?
“Nevermore!” says Mortimer.
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Read more about Arabel & Mortimer and the BBC Puppet Series
on the Joan Aiken Website
Bumper edition with Six Hilarious Stories!
Famous for munching up flights of stairs, and even escalators (where do you think the word ‘ravenous’ comes from!?) Mortimer the raven is best known as the hilarious troublemaker who first appeared in Joan Aiken’s Arabel’s Raven stories on Jackanory – and of course in Quentin Blake’s wonderful pictures!
But his adventures with the Jones family and his beloved friend Arabel, have surprisingly also made him a HERO with teachers of reluctant readers. Here’s a letter from one of them – (thank you, Anne!)
“I had a class of 10 and 11 year olds, one of whom was having great difficulty in learning to read. Well, let’s be blunt about this, he couldn’t even read his name. He and I worked long and hard on this problem, mainly with the help of his brother’s motorbike manual, and eventually he began to make sense of the words on the page and I began to understand how to strip a bike engine. (All the best teaching goes two ways!) But, at last, the day I knew he’d really made it as an independent reader was all down to Joan Aiken.
Every afternoon in that class began with us all putting our feet up with a good book and reading silently for twenty minutes or so. (How else does a hard pressed teacher get time to read?) On this particular afternoon we were all well into our books when there comes a suppressed snigger from the general direction of this lad’s desk. I decide to ignore it. Then there is another, rather less well suppressed, and finally an outright chortle. He was almost unaware of what he was doing so engrossed was he in the book that he could now read well enough to really enjoy. And the book? Aiken’s ‘Arabel’s Raven’. I bless her regularly for turning him into a real reader.”
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The BBC TV series (as above) with puppets based on the wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake is now available again to download
Also on Itunes
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Read more about the Arabel and Mortimer stories here
Two New Puffin Bumper Collections out now!
and you can even do the jigsaw!