cover image Shadows & Moonshine

Shadows & Moonshine

Joan Aiken. David R. Godine Publisher, $18.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-1-56792-167-0

Royals, witches, enchanted pigs, mermaids, wolves and mortals star in the 13 radiant stories included in Shadows and Moonshine by Joan Aiken, illus. by Pamela Johnson, gleaned from a trio of the author's earlier collections. The settings and plots are as varied and imaginative as the characters. In ""The Gift Pig,"" for instance, a spell turns a princess and her friend into pigs and the two are ""packed off (in hampers)"" to finishing school. Aiken is equally adept at conveying the poignant as the preposterous, as evidenced in ""Moonshine in the Mustard Pot,"" and her dry, at times acerbic wit surfaces in ""Cat's Cradle,"" featuring a mean-spirited young woman who tries to snare the suitor of her deceased sister. ( Jan.)