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  • A Necklace of Raindrops
  • Written by Joan Aiken
    Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307558534
  • Our Price: $4.99
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A Necklace of Raindrops

and Other Stories

Written by Joan AikenAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joan Aiken
Illustrated by Kevin HawkesAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Kevin Hawkes

eBook

List Price: $4.99

eBook

On Sale: May 06, 2009
Pages: 96 | ISBN: 978-0-307-55853-4
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
A Necklace of Raindrops Cover

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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Here are eight gloriously imaginative stories for eight satisfying sessions of bedtime reading. There’s a flying apple pie, a cat that’s bigger than an elephant, a house that lays an egg, storybook animals that leap out of their books at night, and a wealth of other wonderful characters and ideas, all with the colorful, dreamlike quality of the very best fairy tales. Joan Aiken’s delicious prose is a joy to read aloud to very young listeners yet simple enough for the independent reader to savor on his or her own. Kevin Hawkes’s illustrations–nearly 60 of them–capture with great flair and fun the magical adventures and the triumph of the good over the bad.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpt

A man called Mr. Jones and his wife lived near the sea. 0ne stormy night Mr. Jones was in the garden when he saw the holly tree by his gate begin to toss and shake.

A voice cried, Help me! I'm stuck in the tree! Help me, or the storm will go on all night."

Very surprised, Mr. Jones walked down to the tree. in the middle of it was a tall man with a long gray cloak, and a long gray beard, and the brightest eyes you ever saw.

"Who are you?" Mr. Jones said. "What are you doing in my holly tree?"

"I got stuck in it, can't you see? Help me out, or the storm will go on all night. I am the North Wind, and it is my job to blow the storm away."

So Mr. Jones helped the North Wind out of the holly tree. The North Wind's hands were as cold as ice.

"Thank you," said the North Wind. "My cloak is torn, but never mind. You have helped me, so now I will do something for you."

"I don't need anything," Mr. Jones said. "My wife and I have a baby girl, just born, and we are as happy as any two people in the world."

"In that case, said the North Wind, I will be the baby's godfather. My birthday present to her will be this necklace of raindrops."

From under his gray cloak he pulled out a fine silver chain.

On the chain were three bright, shining drops.

"You must put it around the baby's neck," he said. "The rain

drops will not wet her, and they will not come off. Every year,

on her birthday, I will bring her another drop. When she has four drops she will stay dry, even if she goes out in the hardest rainstorm. And when she has five drops no thunder or lightning can harm her. And when she has six drops she will not be blown

away, even by the strongest wind. And when she has seven drops she will be able to swim the deepest river. And whe has eight raindrops she will be able to swim the widest sea. when she has nine raindrops she will be able to make the stop raining if she claps her hands. And when she has ten drops she will be' able to make it start raining if she blow nose.

"Stop, stop!" cried Mr. Jones. "That is quite enough fo little girl!"

"I was going to stop anyway," said the North Wind. she must never take the chain off, or it might bring bad lu must be off now, to blow away the storm. I shall be back o next birthday, with the fourth raindrop."

And he flew away up into the sky, pushing the clouds b him so that the moon and stars could shine out.

Mr. Jones went into his house and put the chain with the raindrops round the neck of the baby, who was called Laura.

A year soon went by, and when the North Wind came back the little house by the sea, Laura was able to crawl about, a play with her three bright, shining raindrops. But she never the chain off.

When the North Wind had given Laura her fourth rain she could not get wet, even if she was out in the hardest Her mother would put her out in the garden in her carriage people passing on the road would say, "Look at that poor baby, left out in all this rain. She will catch cold!"

But little Laura was quite dry, and quite happy, playing the raindrops and waving to her godfather the North Wind flew over.
Joan Aiken|Kevin Hawkes

About Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken - A Necklace of Raindrops

Photo © Rob Delroy

Joan Aiken is the author of more than 35 distinguished children’s books, including the classic The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

About Kevin Hawkes

Kevin Hawkes - A Necklace of Raindrops

Photo © Karen Hawkes

When I am asked how I chose to be an illustrator and then an author, I think back to my early childhood. I must have been four or five years old. My family lived in an old house in the middle of the French countryside. My parents loved books and read to us all the time. Sometimes we lit a fire in one of the old fireplaces, especially in the wintertime when it was bitter cold. My mother would read my brothers and I bedtime stories. Often these were Grimm’s fairy tales. Imagine hearing Grimm’s fairy tales by firelight in an old house in the middle of winter in France! I was doomed to become an illustrator and author!

I’m a very nostalgic person. Whenever I illustrate a book, there is something about it that appeals to some part of my past. I spent lots of time outdoors as a child and so nature plays a strong part in everything. I’m drawn to light, shadow, water, and trees. I have a strong sense of mystery. (I spent more time in castles than I did on the playground.)

Books have always been important to me. And libraries. Living in a military family, I moved a lot. Every two or three years we were off to a different part of the country or the world. This was exciting, but left me yearning for familiar things. Whenever we moved to a new place, my mother took us to the library. Do you know that every library in the world smells the same? When I went to the library I could find familiar books, like old friends and discover new ones. Other than my family, books became the constant familiar things I could rely upon.

Art is an escape for me. There was an art teacher who came to my second-grade class, but only once a month, or so it seemed to me! I remember one day she drew a mushroom with a man sitting under it. I was so excited to think that I had permission to draw something straight from my imagination! I loved anything three-dimensional. Clay sculpture was my favorite. I think my sense of depth and form came as a result of modeling heads out of clay.

If a story idea is like building a house, then more often than not I begin with a doorknob. I start with something small, a snippet of conversation or a random object or a particular image that persists in coming to mind and I ask myself “ What sort of door would go with this knob?” When I get the answer to that question I ask, “ What sort of room would go with this door?” and so on until somehow I get a house. It’s a very random way of working, but I find that if I’m thinking of the right questions, then the answers show up at the oddest times.

When I was illustrating a book a few years ago about an obnoxious family of musicians who move next door, there was a baby that kept cropping up in the paintings. Some times he popped out of a tuba or danced on the tip of a Rhinoceros horn.

The art director asked me “ What’s with this baby?”

“He’s from Maine,” I replied. “He’s a Toddlah. A wicked big Toddlah! “ That’s how The Wicked Big Toddlah began.

I think every book should have a slightly different style unique to that particular story. This allows me to experiment with different ways of drawing and storytelling. That keeps me wondering what I’ll be doing next, and that’s a good thing.

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