Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Review: The Serial Garden by Joan Aiken

Today in January Magazine’s children’s section, contributing editor Iain Emsley reviews The Serial Garden by Joan Aiken. Says Emsley:
Joan Aiken’s The Serial Garden collects all of the Armitage family stories together in one volume. Initially written on a whim, they span Aiken's published writing career from the 1950s until the present decade. Now best remembered for the Dido Twite books, an alternate England that began with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Aiken is one of the strongest authors of the post-war boom in children's fantasy. Building on the work E. Nesbit and John Masefield, she brought a sense of Englishness and a matter of factness to the field.

Born in 1924, Aiken was the daughter of the writer Conrad Aiken. However, it was her stepfather, Martin Armstrong, who accidentally gave her the impetus to begin the Armitage stories. He wrote a series for Children's Hour on the BBC in the late 1930s called Said the Cat to the Dog which Aiken drew on for a skit called “Yes, But Today is Tuesday” in which the Armitage family wake up on a Tuesday to find a unicorn in their garden.
The full review is here.

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