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Two happily inventive artists converge in this gem. I first encountered Quentin Blake in the early 1970's when I went to the library and checked out "How Tom Beat Captain Jajork and His Hired Sportsmen" to read to my kids. Many decades later I ran across Joan Aiken and was delighted to discover that she and Quentin Blake had collaberated on this wonderful children's book. This should not be out of print. It is a wonder of a fast-paced galloping good natured story. I sent this to my grandson for his 10th birthday.
It is Saturday afternoon. Mrs. Jones is having her hair done and Mr. Jones is at a football (soccer) game. Chris Cross, their neighbor, is cleaning out the taxi. Mortimer, Arabel's raven, finds Mrs. Dunnage's very expensive ring. What is the reward? What mischief does Mortimer manage to get up to whilst Chris is cleaning? We follow the Jones family including Mortimer, on board the Queen of Bethnall Green. Here Mortimer meets the parrot, Isabella. What happens when Mortimer loses his green tie and the waters get rough going though the Bay of Biscay? Some amusing scenes will have you smiling! This is the first of three stories in this book.
In the second story, Spiral Stair, Arabel and Mortimer are on the train going to visit Uncle Irk. Chris Cross is now working at the zoo and is a valuable ally when Arabel is tracking down thieves. In this story you will meet Noah the boa along with several other animals. Mortimer plans payback on the giraffes who stole his doughnut! Yes you may get a urge to go buy some doughnuts!
The third story, Mortimer and the Sword Excalibur, takes place in the public gardens opposite the Jones' house. Contractors are in digging a big hole for an underground car park. Mrs Jones is busy sewing Arabel a dress or at least she was before Mortimer interfered. Mortimer also has his eye on Mr. Walpole's Lawnsabre. Will he get his desire of actually using it? Meet Sandy, a young boy, who is juggling and tightroping etc in the gardens. What is discovered in the hole? I thought this story actually ended a little abruptly.
The illustration on page 42 of the Kindle version appears to be in draft format as it is not like the others at all!
The Arabel and Mortimer books are on the silly side BUT they are well written, not dumbed down and have some great descriptions. Arabel is given WAY more freedom than probably most parents would be happy with in today's world and of course, Mortimer's antics are quite unreal. Our kids LOVED this book though and the illustrations by Quentin Blake really help bring the characters and situations to life.
This book is one of my favorite read alouds ever. It's super funny and well written. All about a raven named Mortimer who is beloved by Arabel but ALWAYS getting into trouble in crazy ways. This is the second book in the series. If you are collecting, I'm listing the order below. You should know that each of these books are also getting split up into 3 smaller books and published separately under different titles. These are the original longer books that contain all the other stories about Mortimer.
I've loved these characters since my daughter was in elementary school and I volunteered in her school library. It's good to have it on my kindle rather than in paper, though most of the time I prefer a quality hard cover for my personal library. The illustrations by Quentin Blake are what hooked me on this and "Arabel's Raven."
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2009
Arabel and Mortimer is a book written by Joan Aiken and illustrated by Quentin Blake. The first chapter of this book is called Mortimer's Tie. It's about this bird who doesn't like to go anywhere without his dark green tie. Mortimer is Arabel's pet raven. Arabel's parents Mr. and Mrs.Jones had just gotten a brand new car. Arabel was watching Chris wash her dad's new car. Mortimer, who was always getting into trouble was studying a waterhose very hard. Mortimer got his foot stuck in the waterhose and got himself all tangeld up in it. He was pecking and pekcing. He poked many holes in the waterhose. One time, Mortimer, who loved to dig in cracks of cars was digging in Arabel's father's car when he found a ring. It belonged to Lady Dunnage. She had a parrot named Isabella. Isabella was a very proper parrot she had all of her feathers brushed back and she looked beautiful. Miss Dunnage asked Mr. and Mrs.Jones, "Would you like to go on a cruise with me?" So, the whole family went on a cruise.