Simon is determined to become a painter when he grows up so he sets off to London to make his fortune. But the city is plagued by wolves and mysterious disappearances. The Twite household, where Simon is lodging, seems particularly shifty. Before he even gets a chance to open his glistening new paints Simon stumbles right into the centre of a plot to kill the King. And worse than that Simon is kidnapped and sent to sea! Luckily there are two friendly stowaways aboard – the feisty Dido Twite and the spoiled young Justin. But when the ship catches fire things look pretty dire. Can they escape? Will they save the king in time?
BACKSTORY: Test your knowledge of Black Hearts in Battersea and play the name game.
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A fantastic adventure story . . . highly entertaining - Sunday Telegraph
A writer of wild humour and unrestrained imagination - Oxford Companion to Children's Literature
Joan Aiken is such a spellbinder - Evening Standard
So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics! - National Association for the Teaching of English
Joan Aiken was born in Sussex in 1924. She said, 'There were very few children of my age for miles around so books were my friends'. She grew up eager to be a writer 'What I wanted to do was give somebody else the absolute joy and excitement and pleasure that I had myself'. Aiken wrote over a hundred books for young readers and adults. She is most famous for creating a historical period that never existed that began with The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase (1962) and continued with Black Hearts In Battersea (1964), The Whispering Mountain (1968), for which she won the Guardian children's book prize, and Dido And Pa (1986). Joan Aiken died in 2004. For information on all her books see www.joanaiken.com