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Arabel's Raven (Arabel and Mortimer #1)

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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  847 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Young Arabel's life is changed forever when her father, a taxi driver, brings home an injured bird he finds in the street. This wacky raven eats everything in sight, answers the telephone by squawking "Nevermore!" andcauses chaos wherever he goes--but Arabel loves her new feathered friend, whom she names Mortimer.
This is the first volume of Arabel and Mortimer's adventure
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,140)
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Jennifer
A number of years ago, I wrote to my elemetary school librarian at Coudersport Elem. School (PA) telling her how much I remembered loving this book. She actually pulled it from the shelves and sent it to me - and it still has the checkout card in the back with my name on it, dated 9/29/76, Jenny, Room 47. It even smells the way I remember it smelling. Haha.
Ariel
I've always loved Joan Aiken's Wolves of Willoughby Chase series and
this younger book lives up to it but is altogether a lighter, frothier confection. Arabel's raven Mortimer does not like to fly. He wants to be pulled around in a red wooden wagon. He likes potato chips. He sulks when not allowed to sleep in the breadbox. ("We could get another breadbox," suggests Arabel helpfully.) Wherever Mortimer goes, havoc ensues. But he's not all bad: he frustrates burglars, avenges Arabel against her ve
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Barbara Bryant
Well, of course I loved it. I read this years ago along with the companion Arabel and Mortimer and enjoyed both thoroughly. I am sad to say these two have been discarded from my library and I was just able to grab this one before it went in a bin.

Joan Aiken is of course a well-known and loved children's author and I had particularly liked The Wolves of Willoughby Chase which I read as an adult, as I did these. If you know a child who loves animals, quirky humor, wordplay and British authors, thi
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Caitlin
This book was a cute break from the rest of my reading. A taxicab driver brings home a large raven that he saw struck on the side of the road. His daughter, Arabel, takes to it immediately and they become fast friends. The raven, Mortimer, is still a bird, albeit an intelligent one, and gets himself into trouble in many varied ways. He both steals and brings in the real robbers. He demolishes stairs. He enjoys putting coins in vending machines.
Anyone who likes a little whimsy and a characteristi
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Sunni
The girls laughed themselves silly over this book. Mortimer the Raven has so much personality. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was one of my most favorite books as a child so I'm surprised I never heard of this one by the same author. We are all looking forward to the sequel.
Camilla Sofia
Brilliant, quintessential British kids' lit. Uproariously funny and tender throughout, and written with such wit and insight into the mind of a small child. A definite must-read.
Anthony Faber
Arabel & Mortimer #1. Three stories about a little girl and her badly behaved raven. they get into all sorts of fixes, but end up on top, often catching robbers and stuff. A lot like Roald Dahl's children's books.
Emma
I remember loving this. Have not read it in years but will read it to my son sometime.
Molly Westerman
Fun and pleasantly quirky, but dragged on rather--I was ready for it to end quite a while before it did (though my six-year-old wasn't! he thought the whole thing was freaking hilarious). Mortimer the raven and little human Arabel are likeable, and Arabel seems like a real and interesting child rather than being annoyingly perfect or stereotypical.

Bonus points for having a competent and fun male babysitter: I imagine if this book were written today, Chris would be a "she"! Anyway, it's nice to s
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Tanya
This book is quite funny! We really enjoyed listening to it, and Daughter can croak out "Nevermore!" just like the reader. However, it is INTENSELY British, and the seven-year old American didn't really catch most of those references. I found myself continuously interpreting (biscuits=cookies, lift=elevator) both words and cultural references (tea time, unions, attitudes and manner-expectations)

An aside: I was fascinated to have this book reveal to me just how different the language of English i
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Seth
This another great series from my childhood. Joan Aiken combines thoughtful storytelling to a Roald Dahl-type comedic story. There never is really any theme expressed, other than that no one is smarter than this raven (who, consequently, never says more than one word throughout the series). Though simpler writing fits it for more of a younger teen audience, the series can still be appreciated for its witty slapstick humor.
Erin Bell
Loved this book as a kid, decided to pick it up again for fun. Still love it. My only disappointment is that the Kindle edition I picked up had replaced all the British with American. For example, I remember that what Arabel and Chris were looking for in the last story was paraffin, not kerosene. Little details like that were disappointing, but all in all it was the same collection of stories I loved as a child.
DJ Yossarian
We like absurdity 'round our house, so this book made a fantastic bedtime read, although our 7 year old frequently burst out laughing as we read to him, so it didn't always get people in a sleepy mood. The illustrations by Quentin Blake are a perfect compliment to the madness that Mortimer effortlessly creates.
Jackie
I apparently missed this book when I was a kid, but I'm looking forward to making sure my kids don't have the same misfortune. Extremely silly and funny! The reader for the audiobook also did an excellent job.
Lorna
We enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook, which was lovely with the British accent. Looking forward to getting the next Raven book to read--quite funny.
Mandy Blackburn
I have discovered I love Joan Aiken's whimsical style, reminds me of Roald Dahl. Mortimer, the raven, is a great mischeivous yet lovable character.
Donna
If you have primary school children, please let them read this. Or better still, read it to them. You will enjoy it more than them.
Josie B.
I loved this as a kid; i think i enjoyed listening to it more as an adult. Sneha Mathan does an incredible job with the voices.
Deb
Take an unusual family, add an unusually intelligent and all too usually mischievous raven, and chaos ensues! Fun, quick read.
Kathy Hale
This was a cute book about a little girl and her pet Raven who keeps eating or pecking at everything. Very British.
Anna
One of the stories contains ableist language that my child found hurtful. Other than that, it was very good.
Fiona
I read this a long time ago when I was a kid... but I'd really like to read it again and remind myself.
Tasia
It's a cute collection about Mortimer the raven and Arabel, all their mishaps and heartwarming nonsense.
meg
a delight, a remant. 'To think I'll never see him digging for diamonds in the coal-scuttle any more!'
Lalah
Loved this for Kylin, enjoyed it for me, too! Am off to see what else I can find by this author...
Colleenish
This book was total nonsense. At times the story was slow, but mostly a delightful read.
elissa
Another Aiken book that I loved when I was 8 or 9. I remember this as being very funny.
Leslie
Cute stories. I can see how a younger child would find them hilarious.
Tiffany Bills
Oct 20, 2011 Tiffany Bills marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud
I loved Mortimer when I was young! Wonder if it will still be funny to me.
Nicole
A wonderful read-aloud and the illustrations will bring out the laughs.
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Joan Delano Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE,has been celebrating its 50th Anniversary with the publication of three brand new editions of the book and a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza.

Follow THE JOAN AIKEN BLOG at http://joanaiken.wordpress.com/

Read NEWS & NEW PUB
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Other Books in the Series

Arabel and Mortimer (8 books)
  • Arabel, Mortimer, and the Escaped Black Mamba (Arabel and Mortimer, #2)
  • Mortimer's Bread Bin (Arabel and Mortimer, #3)
  • Mortimer's Tie (Arabel and Mortimer, #4)
  • Mortimer and the Sword Excalibur (Arabel and Mortimer, #5)
  • The Spiral Stair (Arabel and Mortimer, #6)
  • The Mystery of Mr. Jones's Disappearing Taxi (Arabel and Mortimer, #7)
  • Mortimer's Portrait on Glass (Arabel and Mortimer, #9)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1) Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2) Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3) Jane Fairfax Midnight Is a Place

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