The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories

by Joan Aiken

Other authorsGarth Nix (Introduction), Andi Watson (Illustrator), Lizza Aiken (Introduction)
Hardcover, 2008

Call number




Big Mouth House (2008), Edition: First Edition, 320 pages


Follows the adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Armitage and their children , Harriet, Mark, and little Milo, as they try to find innovative ways to cope with a variety of extraordinary events including stray unicorns in the garden, lessons in magic that go awry, and eviction from their house to make way for a young magicians' seminary.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Marensr
Joan Aiken is one of the most neglected and splendid Children's writers. Best-known for her Wolves Chronicles (starting with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase) about the adventures of children in a darkly Dickensian alternate world in which James III rules England.

The tales in The Serial Garden are
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not as dark but just as inventive and fanciful. The short stories follow the adventures of the Armitage family. An ordinary British Family of the 1950s however Mrs. Armitage on her honeymoon thought happily ever after sounded a little dull and wished on a wishing stone that things would never be boring but they couldn't have adventures everyday so Mondays were good but not always on Monday because that would be boring too.

The adventures focus primarily on the Armitage children, Harriet and Mark who handle a variety of dangerous and magical happenings with a healthy share of creativity and calm British pluck. Whether a Unicorn appears in their garden, or their parents are turned into lady beetles or hatching a Griffin's egg in the linen closet the stories are full of humor and charm.

Aiken was one of those remarkable writers who wrote both for children and adults and her children's books are those that can easily be enjoyed by adults.

I was delighted to find this volume, which collects all the Armitage stories for the first time.
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LibraryThing member readinggeek451
The Armitage family frequently have extraordinary things happen to them, especially on Mondays: unicorns in the garden, ghosts in the spare bedroom, sea serpents, and so on. The children, Mark and Harriet, cope admirably and with considerable aplomb.

Great fun, although a bit much read all at once
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straight through.
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Locus Award (Nominee — Collection — 2009)
Locus Recommended Reading (Collection — 2008)
Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year (Science Fiction — 2009)




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