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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446430095
  • Imprint: RHCP Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 108

A Necklace Of Raindrops


Formats & editions


A beautiful new edition of Joan Aiken's captivating collection of much-loved modern fairytales, now reissued with Jan Pienkowski's original and iconic silhouette illustrations.

"This is how it all began..." From 'A Necklace of Raindrops' to 'The Patchwork Quilt', here are eight classic stories to treasure and enjoy. Beginning and ending with a birthday, this spell-binding collection conjures up a world filled with magic, where wishes can come true. A necklace of raindrops that keeps its owner dry in the heaviest rainstorm; a tiger that runs faster than the wind; a huge floating apple pie with a piece of sky in it; a baker's cat who swells to the size of a whale when his mistress feeds him yeast; a house that stands on one leg - these are just some of the objects and characters that figure in these delightful stories.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446430095
  • Imprint: RHCP Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 108

About the Authors

Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken was born in Sussex in 1924. She was the daughter of the American poet, Conrad Aiken; her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge, is also a novelist. Before joining the 'family business' herself, Joan had a variety of jobs, including working for the BBC, the United Nations Information Centre and then as features editor for a short story magazine. Her first children's novel, The Kingdom of the Cave, was published in 1960.

Joan Aiken wrote over a hundred books for young readers and adults and is recognized as one of the classic authors of the twentieth century. Amanda Craig, writing in The Times, said, 'She was a consummate story-teller, one that each generation discovers anew.' Her best-known books are those in the James III saga, of which The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was the first title, published in 1962 and awarded the Lewis Carroll prize. Both that and Black Hearts in Battersea have been filmed. Her books are internationally acclaimed and she received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the United States as well as the Guardian Award for Fiction in this country for The Whispering Mountain.

Joan Aiken was decorated with an MBE for her services to children's books. She died in 2004.

Jan Pienkowski

Jan Pienkowski was born in Warsaw in 1936. After creating his first book at the age of eight, Jan went on to excel in his chosen field of design, working in such diverse areas as television, theatre and greetings cards. Published in 1968, A Necklace of Raindrops was the first of several wonderful collaborations between Jan and Joan Aiken - and it was also the very first book Jan illustrated. He has since twice won the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration, and has created many instantly recognizable classics.

Born in Warsaw, into a family of architects and artists, Jan Pieńkowski came to London as a ten year-old who spoke no English. He quickly developed a passion for English comics - 'At my grammar school comics were banned... when we were in the sixth form there was always a race to see who could be the first to confiscate an Eagle on the day it came out.'

He studied English and Classics at Cambridge but spent most of his time designing posters, sets and costumes for student drama productions. While still in Cambridge, he was co-founder of the greetings card company, Gallery Five, of which he remains a director.

After college, he found work as an art director in advertising. 'They all thought I was very eccentric. With an English degree you were supposed to want to be a copywriter.' He also created cartoons and graphics for the BBC Children's TV series, Watch.

Jan's first book - an ABC called Annie Bridget and Charlie - was published in 1967. A year later, he started illustrating Joan Aiken's story collections. For these, he placed sharp silhouettes against a vibrant, marbled background - a technique inspired by papercuts he had seen as a child in Poland. As Joanna Carey notes in The Guardian,'This work has an enchanting elegance'. In 1972, Jan won the Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations for Aiken's The Kingdom by the Sea.

Another productive partnership began for Jan in 1977, when he and writer Helen Nicoll created Meg and Mog - the much-loved duo of a witch and her cat. As illustrator Mark Southgate recently observed, 'Jan Pienkowski's wonderfully creative use of the picture book format looks ground-breaking even by today's standards.' Twenty years after the series began, the books remain contemporary and have lost none of their appeal. Meg and Mog books have achieved such a lasting affection with children and parents that in a Gallup poll, conducted for The Telegraph in 1992, Jan was the third most recognised contemporary children's author (after Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake).

Jan's other books include the Nursery series, pop-up books like Haunted House, Robot and Little Monsters, and the sound effect books like Phone Book and Door Bell. In a very different style, Christmas and Easter bring the words of the King James' Bible vividly alive for a young generation.

He won the Greenaway Medal for a second time in 1980 for Haunted House. In 1996, he created a CD-ROM version. Today, most of Pienkowski's work is done on a computer. He recalls a 'whole year of despair - a ghastly period' as he got to grips with the new technology, but today the computer is central to his work. In new media, as in the conventional forms, Pienkowski persists in pushing back the boundaries.

Away from books, theatre has been a continuing interest of Jan's since Cambridge days. Among the shows he has designed are The Meg and Mog Show, two plays for Theatre de Complicité, Beauty And The Beast for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and a spectacular production of Sleeping Beauty for Disneyland, Paris.

Jan's hobbies include skiing, gardening, films and collecting illustrated books. He also enjoys working with young people on ambitious painting projects: ranging from a mural of rain forests in Glasgow to a giant 1,000 square foot. tower at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith and two huge dinosaurs on a brick wall in North London, created with the help of a mere 200 children!


Praise for A Necklace Of Raindrops

“His distinctive style evokes the fairy tales' mix of surrealism and exoticism; apparently, he played a tape recording of the fairy tales as he drew. ... This was the first cover to feature Pienkowski's enchanting silhouette style. The black title lettering picks up on the silhouette and stands out against the multicoloured backdrop that captures a sense of 1960s experimentalism.”

Lydia Fulton, Financial Times

“One of the best possible books to give to a child, made even more magical by the exquisite silhouette pictures of the Polish artist Jan Pienkowski.”

Amanda Craig, Amazon.co.uk

“A Necklace of Raindrops is something that should be on every child's shelf”

Amanda Craig, The Times

“Magic has never been more elegantly shaped than in these effervescent short stories ... The flight of imagination is delicately captured in Jan Pienkowski's accompanying silhouettes.”

Julia Eccleshare, The Guardian

“I loved these strange tales with their exquisitely vivid illustrations!...we read one a day (sometimes rather greedily more), and were in turns, charmed, amused and thrilled by the weird and wonderful characters and their enchanting, enchanted stories”

Okido blog

“Jan Pienkowski, whose magical silhouttes were never so finely matched as with the wonderful Joan Aiken's fine short stories...A treat”

The Evening Standard

“Filled with poetic repetitions, each story beautifully balances the prosaic with the wondrous”

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