The prose of Joan Aiken, her uncanny ability to tell a great story in language that is classically beautiful, her fascinating characters, riveting dialogue, and compelling action, should be better appreciated. Like her father, Conrad Aiken, she is adept at a number of forms but is a master of the short story. In this fetching collection of what she considers thirteen of her best tales, she can be scary (everyone knows her fascination with wolves and witches) and poetic (as in “Moonshine in the Mustard Pot” or “The Lilac in the Lake”). But whatever she sets her hand to, it reads like the work of a master. Set against the lovely and luminous pencil drawings of Pamela Johnson, we have a a baker’s dozen of magical tales that will stay with readers long after the last page is turned and the lights turned out.
Praise for Shadows and Moonshine
What I relish in particular is the swiftness of the telling, the vigor with which brilliant moments of perception … seem to be improvised in the sheer delight of the onward rush of the story. Joan Aiken is a marvel.
It is a rare enough achievement to create even one children’s novel that is read with equal pleasure by youngsters and adults alike. . . . [Aiken’s] readers can inhabit a world where … wit and poetry, drama and compassion, exist in equal measure.