Cover image for Stopping for a spell: three fantasies
Stopping for a spell: three fantasies
Jones, Diana Wynne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2004.

Physical Description:
132 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
A collection of three tales that includes "Chair Person, " "The Four Grannies, " and "Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?"
General Note:
New Greenwillow ed.
Reading Level:
Ages 8 up.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.8 4.0 21777.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



There have never been visitors like the ones in these three spellbinding stories. In "Chair Person" it is Auntie Christa who turns up with an old conjurer's kit. Something from it gets spilled on an armchair, and the result is Chair Person. Chair Person is not very good at being a person, but he certainly makes his presence felt. When "The Four Grannies" come to take care of Emily and Erg, Erg wants to get rid of them so he can get on with inventing his Invention. Emily, who seems to have turned into a teddy bear, is no help, and four grannies are not easy for one boy to handle. In "Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?" the gentleman of the title is an awful college friend of Dad's who comes for a visit and wants to stay for good. He has a habit of picking the children up by the hair. Everybody wants Angus Flint to go, but he won't leave. Only with help from an unexpected source do the children finally get rid of him. Diana Wynne Jones again weaves her own brand of magic in these three ingenious, witty stories.

Author Notes

Diana Wynne Jones was born in London on August 16, 1934. In 1953, she began school at St. Anne's College Oxford and attended lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. After graduation, she created plays for children that were performed at the London Arts Theatre. Her first book was published in 1973. She wrote over 40 books during her lifetime including Dark Lord of Derkholm, Earwig and the Witch, and the Chrestomanci series. She won numerous awards including the Guardian Award for Children's Books in 1977 for Charmed Life, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1984 for Archer's Goon, the Mythopeic Award in 1999, the Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999, and the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Organization in 2007. Her book Howl's Moving Castle was adapted into an animated film by director Hayao Miyazaki, and the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. She died from lung cancer on March 26, 2011 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in a contemporary England that is only slightly beset by enchantments, these three stories brim with the wry takes on everyday situations and the marvelous slapstick wizardry that have made Jones's novels ( The Ogre Downstairs ) so howlingly funny. In ``Chair Person,'' a chance encounter with a genuine magic kit brings gloriously grumpy life to ``an armchair with a sofa opinion of itself.'' Armed with an insatiable appetite, a formidable lack of tact and a ceaseless flow of facts gleaned from an entire career spent in front of the television, the self-styled Chair Person threatens to take over Marcia and Simon's home. A chopstick that may or may not be a magic wand wreaks supernatural havoc when the title characters of ``Four Grannies'' come to take care of Erg and his step-sister Emily. In ``Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?'' an exceedingly unpleasant houseguest is finally vanquished when the tables--along with the grand piano, the carpet and assorted chairs--turn on him. None of these lighthearted stories possesses the emotional depth and the layers of meaning found in the author's novels for older readers--nor are they intended to. Aimed at a slightly younger audience, this book is an ideal introduction to the quirky humor and witchery that characterize this author's work, nicely complemented by the line drawings and spot illustrations scattered throughout the text. Ages 8-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-- Jones, best known for her books for older readers, turns to the younger set here with three short, easy-to-read fantasies, presented in inviting large type. Published originally in Britain in the 1970s and 80s, the stories have been brought together and reillustrated for their debut in this country. Each selection is made up of six or seven very brief chapters. All three overflow with the kind of slapstick humor children love, involving ordinary household objects brought to life by magic. ``Chair Person'' is the best: children will enjoy the trials of a family whose old armchair is mysteriously (and disastrously) transformed into an overstuffed, and overbearing, little man. Although their themes are appealing, the other two selections are confusing and the last one moves at a breathless pace. Briticisms, while an integral part of an import's style, here weigh down the text. Readers just honing their skills should not have to deal with such an overload of unfamiliar usage. --Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chair Personp. 1
1. Auntie Christa's Boxp. 3
2. Something in the Garden Shedp. 10
3. A Busy Nightp. 20
4. Coffee Morningp. 27
5. Junk Shopp. 34
6. Party Gamesp. 45
The four Granniesp. 57
1. Erg Gets an Ideap. 59
2. More Grannies Arrivep. 64
3. Emily Gets Convertedp. 70
4. A Large Yellow Teddy Bearp. 74
5. How to Keep Four Grannies Busyp. 79
6. Erg's Invention Worksp. 85
7. Supergrannyp. 91
Who Got Rid of Angus flint?p. 99
1. Angus Flint Arrivesp. 101
2. The Smell in the Nightp. 106
3. Roller Skates and Stewp. 111
4. Cream Teasp. 117
5. Angus Flint's Revengep. 122
6. The Tables Turnp. 126