"In a singularly important publishing even, the first complete collection of Aiken’s 24 beloved Armitage cycle of stories appears here for the first time. The family who dwells in and out of magical worlds transcends fantasy and enters the world of classic, entrancing literature. Belongs on every child’s bookshelf. For all ages."
—Smithsonian Magazine Notable Books for Children 2008
"For sheer charm it’s hard to beat these wonderful, dead-pan comic tales about one family’s adventures—nearly always on a Monday—with ghosts, witches, time travel, the Furies and every sort of magic."
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
"Buy it to read to your kids, and you’ll find yourself sneaking tastes on the sly; a little Aiken is a fine thing to have in your system at any age."
"Joan Aiken’s invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come."
“The best kind of writer, strange and spooky and surprising, never sentimental or whimsical.”
"Gathered under one cover from several Aiken collections, the magical, eccentric and very British Armitage family reappears in a collection of 24 stories, four never before published. The Armitages’ wacky magic (usually a Monday occurrence) and that of their fantastical town, a place filled with witches and magical beings, rises from the pages when matters go slightly awry, in the manner of Edward Eager and E. Nesbit."
"The Armitage family stories are stories of a seemingly ordinary British family to whom magical things seemed to happen regularly. Collected here for the first time are all of Joan Aiken's twenty-four Armitage family stories, four of which have never been published before. These are short stories for children which, with their mix of magic, myth, and humor, appeal broadly to adults as well."
—About.com, Holiday Gift Books 2008
"Readers of all ages have the opportunity to enjoy some of the best writing by one of the most superb and timeless fantasy writers."
—Green Man Review
"The Armitage’s world grows richer as it is extended. This is a collection of stories which allow—in fact demand—the reader joins in with their own imagination and remakes the story inside their own head. Aiken’s pragmatism shows through in her stories. Instead of remaining in or reflecting upon the past like some of her contemporaries, they show an author making the best of the world and coming out ahead with humor and imagination.”
"Each of the tales brims with old-fashioned adventure and charm. An excellent way to show Harry Potter fans that magic can come in small doses too."
This is the first complete collection of Joan Aiken’s beloved Armitage stories—and it includes four new, unpublished stories. After Mrs. Armitage makes a wish, the Armitage family has “interesting and unusual” experiences every Monday (and the occasional Tuesday). The Board of Incantation tries to take over their house to use as a school for young wizards; the Furies come to stay; and a cutout from a cereal box leads into a beautiful and tragic palace garden. Charming and magical, the uncommon lives of the Armitage family will thrill and delight readers young and old. Includes Joan Aiken’s “Prelude” from Armitage, Armitage, Fly Away Home, as well as introductions from Joan Aiken’s daughter, Lizza Aiken, and best-selling author Garth Nix. Illustrated by Andi Watson.
Praise for Joan Aiken:
"A writer of wild humor and unrestrained imagination."
—Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature
"This year can boast one genuine small masterpiece. . . . The Wolves of Willoughby Chase . . . almost a copybook lesson in those virtues that a classic children’s book must possess."
Best known for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Joan Aiken (1924-2004) wrote over a hundred books and won the Guardian and Edgar Allan Poe awards. After her first husband’s death, she supported her family by copyediting at Argosy magazine and an advertising agency before turning to fiction. She went on to write for Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Vanity Fair, Argosy, Women’s Own, and many others.