An Easter Egg story from Joan Aiken & Jan Pienkowski – the origin of the egg hunt?

House Egg story

Joan Aiken’s Necklace of Raindrops stories famously illustrated by Jan Pienkowski have been bedtime reading favourites for years. In this story – A Bed for the Night – four travelling musicians with wonderfully tongue in cheek names are wandering in search of a home:

Bed for the Night

In classic fable format, the friends ask various animals and people they meet if they can offer them a bed for the night, but everyone turns them down…

Finally they meet an old lady, who has a house like Baba Yaga’s – standing on its one chicken leg – which has just laid an egg!

But this time the story ends happily, although not in the way we expect – the brothers hunt for the egg and bring it back, but by the time they do it has cracked – it’s hatching, into another one legged house, and so the old lady rather crossly gives it to them – because now she can’t boil it for her supper…

So now they have a little chicken-leg house of their own!

Bed for the Night Pic


Read more about this beautifully illustrated collection A Necklace of Raindrops

Or find the audio version read by Joan Aiken’s daughter

Lizza Aiken

Ghostly Visions – An Inspired Relationship

Ill Wind

Jan Pienkowski’s vision &¬† Joan Aiken’s story ‘An Ill Wind’¬† from ‘A Foot in the Grave’

Ill Windstory

Today sees the publication of an elegant new edition of Joan Aiken and Jan Pienkowski’s ghostly collaboration¬† A Foot in The Grave is coming out just in time for Hallowe’en… for those who enjoy all things haunting and mysterious here are Jan’s atmospheric illustrations and Joan’s eight extraordinary tales.

The partnership between Aiken and Pienkowski has produced some memorable books, A Necklace of Raindrops,¬† which many remember as their favourite children’s book, or The Kingdom under the Sea which won the Kate Greenaway Medal. This collection of spooky stories for older readers was suggested by Jan, knowing Joan’s wild imagination would be fired by his series of images, and she certainly rose to the challenge. The Kirkus review said: ‘ One of Britain’s most innovative illustrators provides inspiration for a skilled fantasy writer…luminous, tantalizing…menacing…mysterious’

See Joan’s books at the Random House Joan Aiken page