Sunday, 13 November 2016

Books from my Bookshelf - Tale of a One-Way Street and other Stories


In this collection of eight original stories, Joan Aiken takes us on a journey to a land where all the magical things that only seem to happen in dreams really happen. 

The stories are: Tale of a one-way street, The lions, Bridget's hat, The goodbye song, The queen of the moon, Clean sheets, The alarm cock (not clock!) and The tractor, the duck and the drum. The illustrations are all by Jan Pienkowski. 

Image above from THE ALARM COCK 

Once there was a shop with a sign over the door that said, VINE, WOLF, AND PARROTT, HELPERS. If you opened the door and went in, you saw the Vine right away, for it grew out of the floor and up the walls of the little shop, so the whole room was lined with leaves, and clusters of flowers hung from the ceiling.... A sign over the counter said, No fee unless satisfied.  Payment in kind Accepted. We help you with all your problems!

Image from TALE OF A ONE-WAY STREET 

They saw a great forest of pipes, each pipe mended in a different way. They saw streams and fountains of letters and numbers sparkling in the purple rays of the sun, making hundreds and thousands of different words, giving the answers to any number of sums...

 Image from THE LIONS

At each corner of the little park, facing inwards so that they could see on another comfortably, crouched four stone lions. One had moss growing on his tail. One had a swallow's nest of straw built between his ears. One had a broken paw, where a boy had thrown a brick. And somebody had written I LOVE FRANK on the fourth lion ...

 Image from BRIDGET'S HAT

"Now," he said. "Pay careful attention. The diamond that fastens your right-hand boot is a very old and precious one; it is called the Eye of the Desert, and has the power to take you wherever you want to go, if you step out with your right foot first, and wish at the same time. Is that clear?


A second image from BRIDGET'S HAT

Image from THE GOODBYE SONG

But one night, out of the depths of her worry, she dreamed a song, and the next day, when she woke up, she remembered the words of it, and the tune.  These were the words:

Road, river, mountain, sea,
Bring my boys safe to me
Earth, air sun, moon,
Bring my sons back soon
Luck, chance, wish, will
Keep them safe from all ill.

Black and white image from BRIDGET'S HAT

Image from THE QUEEN OF THE MOON

Tansy walked along the side of the field till she came to a little stream. She built a dam out of sticks and mud. Then she built an island out of stones, and put smaller stones and earth on top. Over the earth she laid green moss, and then she picked moon daisies and stuck them into the moss. They looked as if they were growing...

Image from THE TRACTOR, THE DUCK AND THE DRUM

So Euan wrote to his Aunt Bertha:  Dere Ant Birthday I shd bee verry great full if u cd send mee a track tor I can ride on wat goes chug chug chug & a drum I can play on wat goes rub a dub dub & a duk to swim in my barf wat goes quak quak quak.

 Image from CLEAN SHEETS

So Gus had to go to bed, but he took the leaf with him. And lying in bed, holding the leaf scrunched up in his hand, he remembered floating down the Colorado river in a canoe past great golden cliffs. He remembered scoring the winning goal in an ice-hockey match. He remembered getting into the pilot's seat of a small aeroplane he had been given. Then he went to sleep ...



I’m so happy I stumbled across this beautifully illustrated book in a local charity shop.  I love the intense colours and the silhouettes by Jan Pienkowski, plus the stories are fun and imaginative.  This from the introduction:

What very strange creatures you are apt to meet if you dare to go the wrong way up a one-way street. What splendid things you can remember, even if they didn't happen (like the zebra you got for your birthday or all the doughnuts in the world which you ate without being sick), if you hold the leaf of a memory tree in the palm of your hand. What a peculiar muddle your presents can get into when your birthday cake is baked with a wishing spoon, and what magical rewards come your way if you save the king of grasshoppers from drowning in your porridge.  

Tale of a one-way street
Joan Aiken with pictures by Jan Pienkowski. 
Published by Jonathan Cape Ltd. 1978

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I’m going to leave you with a funny story as told by our daughter in law Karen.  She is talking about her youngest daughter (our granddaughter) Lilly.  

... Lilly decided to help me with the washing ... after loading the washing machine I said ok now shut the door like you are really cross, meaning slam it shut … as she slammed the door she yelled "I am sick of this".   

Tada!!  Thank you Lilly ... please take a bow!



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56 comments:

  1. Barbara such delightful illustrations and stories today. This is one of the few things that has made me smile this week! And Lilly, what a precious girl! Truer words were never spoken! lol

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    1. Hello Diane, I had to laugh when Karen told that story. Children are like sponges at that age. They pick everything up and are usually happy to repeat it.
      It has been a dreadful week for sure, but I’m glad my post made you smile.
      We just have to believe things will get better. Thanks for coming over.

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  2. WOW!!! What beautiful illustrations. I feel happier just looking at those. There's something so calming about the illustrations in children's books. And Lilly looks SO adorable!

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    1. Jan Pienkowski does the BEST illustrations. I've always loved them so it was a pleasure to share a few here. I’m biased, but Lilly is adorable.

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  3. Oh my goodness, loving the combination of those vibrant colours and silhouettes.

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    1. They are something else aren't they Tracy.

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  4. Out of the mouths of babes. Yes, Lilly! Precious. And this looks like a great book, Barbara, the illustrations are beautiful and delightful! And I grew up on a one way street, how cool is that? Thank you so much for sharing, your posts do so much to brighten my day with a smile and this time, too, with a laugh. :)

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    1. Hello Linda,
      It sounds as though Tales of a one-way street was written just for you! Was your ‘one-way street’ as colourful as this one? Jan Pienkowski is a brilliant artist and seems to have found the exact illustration for each story.
      I’m glad the story about Lilly made you laugh. I chuckle every time I think about it.

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  5. Good on Lilly.
    What lovely illustrations.

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    1. Good on Lilly indeed, she isn’t going to put up with any old nonsense. :-)
      You are not wrong about the illustrations.

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  6. HaHa! Slamming the door on a washing machine...
    And the comment with it..Wish l could do that,
    but then l don't have washing machine...Horrid
    things!!! :(.

    Can't comments on the books, but, the illustrations
    are simply amazing! The colours, the images, and, the
    depth of each picture...Love them! :).
    And...Tempus Fugit...Time Flies...HeHe! It certainly
    does!
    I think my favourite is the Dragon...Love that. Love
    Dragons..could'nt eat a whole one though! :0).

    Enter The Dragon....
    A dragon bursts out from the sun.
    His lightening scorches they that run.
    A pain filled, quick and searing death.
    For those containing mortal breath.
    But somewhere in the swarm below.
    The thing the dragon needs to know.

    Oh! Lily looks lovely...Pink Tutu...
    Best ever! :).

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    1. I love your dragon poem Willie and wish I had one to share with you … but I don’t … sorry!

      I thought you would enjoy the story about Lilly and the picture of her in her pink tutu.

      I’ve never worn a tutu – pink or otherwise. The closest I ever came and the only time I went on stage was at age six when I played the part of a daffodil waving in the breeze! My mum was tasked with making the costume which consisted of two rolls of crepe paper one bound tightly around the top half of my body and the other cut into yellow petals for the skirt. I loved it and begged for her to make me something for the next school play, but she point blank refused and that was the end of my acting career! :-)

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    2. Tutu...Tutu...Goodness! I looked good in
      Three! Three! :).
      I was an exhibitionist from day one...God!
      What an entrance...! 10lb 10oz. Touch and
      go..but, we both made it..!!!
      "Friends..Romans..Countrymen..l come to....."
      "Alas poor Yorick...". "To die to sleep no more.."
      And..my favourite..."Made it Ma..Top of the World"
      (James Cagney..White Heat).

      "Willie..you need another cup of tea..and a lie down":0).

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    3. Willie, I love it! Your life sounds such fun; mine has been rather more mundane! I wanted to be an actress for about five minutes but then boys came on the scene, and acting went out the window! Haha

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  7. Oooops! Thank goodness Lilly didn't say anything rude in her imitation of a cross Mum! Those illustrations are glorious - I particularly like the plane one (Clean Sheets) and the Queen of the Moon. Woweee.

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    1. Hi Sue, if she had I probably wouldn’t have repeated it! :-)
      I agree re the illustrations, but I can’t make up my mind which one I like most. The dragon is certainly up there, and I like the Queen of the Moon.

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  8. Hello sweet Lily!!! Pretty little girl!

    Oh Barbara, these images are FANTASTIC! And the title of that book, "The Alarm Cock" is so clever! I'm so glad that books exist to help us run away if just for a day, to a place where anything is possible. Love these silhouettes! Enjoy your day my friend.

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    1. It is a great book isn’t it Anita. I spend hours lost within the pages of children’s books; there is no nicer way to while away a day. As for Lilly, I absolutely agree with you.

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  9. My favourite among those pictures is the one of Lilly. The look on her face, I think, shows great self-confidence in her ability to perform a great routine or that she has just given such and is enjoying the applause. Lovely! As for the picture of the plumbing....makes you wonder what sort of gadget the 'plumber' brews his tea in? Perhaps he uses a Gizmo.......
    My Gizmo is a thing that has wheels and a wing
    Then a box full of junk (the lid countersunk)
    Plus a door with two handles, some half burnt candles
    Seven bent rusty nails, a kite with two tails
    And a Whats-it tied on with string..........etc etc!

    Thanks for sharing another gem Barbara. John

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    1. Hi John, I know you are a poet – so my question is did you write Mr. Gizmo? I would like to see how it ends.

      Lilly used to be really shy, but the ballet classes and performances are really starting to bring her out of herself. When the family were in the UK last year, we enjoyed an impromptu performance (by both girls) in the hotel lounge. It was during a lull in entertainment on Boxing Day afternoon. A music system was found and turned on by the staff, and the girls ran through their routines. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place!

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    2. Now how wonderful is that? You, and Mum and Dad (their's) must be so proud of them. Seems to me there is so much love throughout your family....how wonderful!
      Sorry! No, Mr.Gizmo is nought to do with me..............
      But a Kite is a bird! With two tails? Thats absurd!!
      If it tried to fly I'm sure it would cry
      Going to and fro with no where to go
      Chasing it's tail/tail, each flights bound to fail.....Ouch!

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    3. It was a very special time, especially as Terry’s mum and dad and my sister and family were there. I’m sure there is just as much love in your family it’s just that with Steven and family living on the other side of the world when we do get together it is a big celebration.
      I have never come across Mr. Gizmo before, but I love the words and I’m sure I won’t forget it now. Thanks for coming back and sharing the rest of it.

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    4. Oh! But there is more...............

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    5. I've tried to find it online but no luck - so far, will look again later.

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  10. These are wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing. I'd forgotten how much I loved Jan Pienkowski's work and I'm now determined to get a few books of his from the library today. Lilly is adorable, as always!

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    1. Hi Marcia, he is an amazing artist I could look at his work for hours. Maybe you will share a post about him after your trip to the library.

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  11. Lily is such a little beauty! She must take after her grandmother:)
    Love the stories. You are widening my horizons on children's literature.

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    1. Why thank you Sandra, if only that were true! :-)
      The stories are wonderful and sharing them is widening my horizons also.

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  12. Go Lily!

    As for the illustrations, each one is a visual delight! I could scroll through this post all day and never tire of imagining the stories behind each picture.

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    1. I don’t think Lilly needs much encouragement to ‘Go’ the problem is getting her to stop. hehe

      The images are even brighter in ‘real life', and the stories are wonderful.

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  13. What delightful tales. I love the fact that there are such vibrant colors contrasting with the black and the stories are so gun. Beautiful!

    Your granddaughter gave me a good laugh. I am sure there have been lots of shouts of that phrase over the years when people have been doing the wash. :) Too funny!

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    1. Hi Stephanie, the colours are even more vibrant in the book. I struggled to get accurate representations with my camera – but they are pretty close.

      Lilly has a way of making people laugh. Some of the things she comes out with are priceless!

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  14. Lily is precious! I love when little folks imitate us bigger ones. The book is amazing, I love the illustrations and the concept! Thanks. I am off to see my family in Canada and do a bit of promoting for my latest book.

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    1. You must be excited to see your family Darlene, have fun and good luck with the book promotion.

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  15. What an enchanting book! You do find amazing treasures, Barbara! Thank you for sharing them with us. Lilly is such a lovely little ballerina! I would love to pin that photo an my board Ageless Beauty Embodiment or on Dance and Beautiful Body Fun on Pinterest if I had permission. You must be so proud of her!

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    1. Hello Colleen, we are incredibly proud of Lilly and of her sister Zoe. I always check with my son and daughter in law before using any photographs of the girls and they never mind at all. Karen is a photographer, and her website is full of photographs of the girls, so they are quite used to being in the public domain. It was kind of you to ask before Pinning, but I know it is perfectly fine.

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  16. Super illustrations that feed the imagination perfectly. Lovely post. Thank you.

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    1. My pleasure Nicola, thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Barbara.

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  17. Aw! Lily is SO adorable. =) What a beautiful book. It sounds like imagination personified, and we all need that creative boost periodically, eh?

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    1. We certainly do! Thanks for your kind words about Lilly - she is gorgeous!

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  18. Great post, thanks for reviewing the book. And the anecdote at the end made me laugh long and loud! The weather seems to be bad all over Europe just now. Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Hi Valerie, it made me laugh too! Thanks for coming over. Hugs back.

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  19. The illustrations and silbouettes are so beautiful and so unique. I've never seen them mixed like that before.

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    1. Hello Teressa, I don’t know if it is unique to Jan Pienkowski, but I certainly can’t think of anyone else doing quite the same thing.

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  20. Hello Barbara! I’m so happy I stumbled across your gorgeous blog. What a cute little girl :) And this looks like a great book, I love books and this children's book has beautiful illustrations, love those intense colours! Let me see if I can find here in Geneva. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for coming to visit my blog today. I do hope you manage to find a copy. It is very beautiful, and I’m sure you will enjoy it. Thank you also for your kind words about Lilly.

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  21. That book is a real treasure Barbara and you were lucky to find it. Love the illustrations they are beautiful.

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    1. You are so right Shashi it is a treasure.

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  22. Lol, dear Lilly! That's the right way to treat a wayward door. As for Joan Aiken, she was one of the first children's authors I read when I began exploring writing for children. I have very fond memories of her short stories (a particular collection titled "Ghostly Beasts" and some of her mysteries). This one I haven't read but what you've quoted here sound amazing, especially "Queen of the Moon" and "Goodbye Song."

    P.S. I did mis-read it as "Clock" the first time!

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    1. Hi Claudine, I agree with you Ghostly Beasts is an excellent collection of her stories and poems. I’ve forgotten quite a lot of the stories so it must be time for a rereading.
      Little Lilly certainly tells it like it is! :-)

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  23. I love the story about your granddaughter. She'd make a great actress! :D

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  24. wow ,
    wonderful magical world you brought into my eyes dear Barbara .these stories and images are captivating .

    loved the little angle .she is so adorable .may god bless her with long healthy and joyful life amen.

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

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  25. The picture pages are absolutely stunning.
    Hope you are having a wondrous weekend...unless it's already Monday there...in that case...have a great week;)

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    1. Hello Sandra, you are right the pictures are stunning.
      I’ve had a very enjoyable weekend (thanks for asking). It is Sunday evening now, and I’m just about to pick up my book and read for a while before bed. Have a lovely week.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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