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Joan Aiken

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Book Description

April 1 1995
Readers beware! Mischievous ghosts, ancient curses, and monstrous spirits inhabit these thirteen spine-tingling tales. Enter a world of fantasy where a blast of a whistle brings a boy from the past, where a ghostly awl perches night after night at the foot of your bed, and where a white seagull whispers the warning, "Listen." Each of these stories by Joan Aiken, a master of suspense, will chill and delight, lingering long after the book is closed.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (April 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440410142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440410140
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 23 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

There is something for every chill-seeking reader in this masterful gallery of moody settings, curious circumstances and a host of haunting characters who star in 13 remarkably varied tales of the supernatural. And each story offers an exciting twist that spurs the imagination. In "Wing Quack Flap," the ghost of a beloved pet duck brings comfort to a small boy and his aunt, until a mean old man learns of its existence. The horror is of a psychological nature in "Aunt Susan," the story of a widowed aunt who goes to live with a young couple, the Caraways; a novice in psychological studies, Aunt Susan probes the "deeper meaning" of gentle Mr. Caraway's violent suspense novels, and there the trouble begins. The title story explores the universal challenge of good and evil, as two argumentative brothers duel to a dark and frightening conclusion. Some of the stories leave more to the imagination than others; it is not always clear what the events of the story are. But that vagueness is rare, and almost always buoyed by the surrounding details of Aiken's wonderfully creative imagination. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-- A magic duck, ghosts, the devil, a confused muse, and human evil haunt these 13 unusual stories that hover between fantasy and reality; humor and psychological terror. The styles vary, giving an interesting texture to the collection, as do the contrasts between grim reality and magic, but what unites the stories is the strength of characterization and setting, and the unabashed enjoyment of language. Sometimes the humor is black, as in "The End of Silence," in which two children plot to kill their father's owl, who has usurped them. Other times, humor is abandoned altogether in favor of pure dread, for example "The Erl-King's Daughter," a story of psychological victimization with, like many of these tales, an ironic end. Aiken is clever at the gradual revelation that makes a story fall into place, as in "The Lame King," in which a middle-aged couple transports his parents to a destination that becomes chillingly apparent as the story progresses. Not all of the stories have young protagonists, but they should be of interest to young readers who are willing to put some effort into their reading. This collection is up to Aiken's usual high standards, and her fans will love it. --Annette Curtis Klause, Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries, Md.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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