Arabel's Raven - Story Snug

Arabel’s Raven by Joan Aiken and Quentin Blake

We have thoroughly enjoyed doing The Classics Challenge and have read some fabulous stories. Arabel’s Raven is the final classic story that we have read this year and it was full of so much humour and intrigue that I’ve bought all the other Arabel and Mortimer stories!

The Story: One night as Mr Jones is driving his taxi home he almost runs over a large raven. He takes the raven home and his daughter Arabel calls him Mortimer. One day the jewellery shop where Mrs Jones works is robbed and Mortimer is kidnapped by the two thieves and their squirrel. Can Arabel find her beloved raven? Who are the thieves that are behind a spate of burglaries in the town?

The Jones’ family life is turned upside down when Mortimer joins their household. He has some very amusing peculiarities, not least his penchance for eating wooden stairs and his unique telephone manner, both of which feature during his kidnap and subsequent rescue. Arabel is a strong, plucky character who, although still only at playgroup, shows a great deal of independence and maturity. As an only child she is devoted to Mortimer and their unusual friendship is the main theme of the story, she is devastated when Mortimer goes missing.

Quentin Blake’s trademark illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the humorous text. Mortimer is almost as big as Arabel and my favourite illustration shows Mortimer riding in Mrs Jones’ shopping trolley. We also love the picture where Mortimer is kidnapped although we feel sorry for the squirrel who is wearing a bomb around his neck! The story and the adventure is timeless although some of the language dates it, I had to explain what the discs in the music shop were.

We’re looking forward to reading more of Mortimer and Arabel’s adventures. The books are small and slim, they’re the perfect size to carry in a handbag and we enjoyed the story so much that we read it in one sitting!

Age Range: 6 +

Author: Joan Aiken / Illustrator: Quentin Blake

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18 responses to “Arabel’s Raven by Joan Aiken and Quentin Blake”

  1. Lukeosaurus And Me avatar

    Ah this sounds like such a fun little book! I’ve not heard of it before – which is, admittedly, quite shameful – but I do love Quentin Blakes’ illustrations. I will have to keep an eye out. Ray xx #readwithme

    1. Catherine avatar

      I hope that you enjoy Arabel’s Raven. It was published when I was a child, it’s always great to share a childhood favourite with my own child 🙂

  2. Rachel Bustin avatar

    I used to love Quentin Blake as a young child and this book looks really good! One for my nephew I think! xx

    1. Catherine avatar

      I hope that your nephew enjoys it 🙂

  3. chantelle hazelden avatar

    I do adore Quentin’s illustrations, this is a book I’ve not heard of though, must check it out!! Thanks for linking up with #ReadWithMe

    1. Catherine avatar

      Quentin Blake has illustrated many of our favourite books, we absolutely love his illustrations in Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave 🙂

  4. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) avatar

    I’ve not read any of the series but it sounds great, I’ll have to check them out 🙂 #readwithme

    1. Catherine avatar

      I hope that you enjoy them 🙂

  5. Sarah MumofThree World avatar

    It sounds fab! Funnily enough, my son has been given a Joan Aiken book to read from school and he hates it! I’ve read a bit of it with him and I’m quite enjoying it.

    1. Catherine avatar

      I’ve only read this one by Joan Aiken, it would be interesting to read some others to see if they are humorous too 🙂

      1. Mayken avatar

        There is the series (for older readers) that starts with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, set in an alternative England (and later, other parts of the world) in, I think, the 19th century. I’ve read five or six of them.

        1. Catherine avatar

          Thanks Mayken, I think that I may have read the Wolves of Willoughby Chase when I was at school.

  6. Anita Cleare avatar

    Even as an adult I love Blake’s illustrations! My children are too old to read them now but I have kept all of his books on our memory shelf… #readwithme

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s amazing how many books Quentin Blake has illustrated!

  7. Emma - My Book Corner avatar

    Yikes another one to tuck on to the TBR pile, thank you – think I’ll sneak down to my library and see if I can find a copy.

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s fabulous – we can’t wait to read the rest 🙂

  8. Mayken avatar

    I *love* that book!
    My edition doesn’t have Quentin Blake’s illustration, but very cute ones anyway. And the story is so funny. One of the sequels had me in stitches every time.
    Must absolutely dig to my copy.

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s hilarious isn’t it. We can’t wait to read the others 🙂