Gabriel-Ernest and Other Tales
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
Age range: 9–11
The local landowner Van Cheele experiences an unnerving encounter with a youth sunning himself near a pond, and starts to wonder if there is any connection between this wild-looking boy and the recent disappearances of poultry, hares, lambs and, more alarmingly, an infant child in the area. To his astonishment, he discovers the next day that his aunt has decided to take the boy in, buying him a suit of clothes and naming him Gabriel-Ernest. Van Cheele remains suspicious, especially when it is revealed that there is something supernatural about their new ward…
An eerie and disquieting tale about the dark side of adolescence, ‘Gabriel-Ernest’, written with Saki’s trademark wit and mischievousness, is here presented with seven other uncanny and macabre tales, featuring Quentin Blake’s inimitable illustrations.
Contains: ‘The Open Window’, ‘The Boar-Pig’, ‘The Chaplet’, ‘The Lumber Room’, ‘The Shartz-Metterklume Method’, ‘Gabriel-Ernest’, ‘Sredni Vashtar’, ‘The Storyteller’, ‘The She-Wolf’.
Saki’s short stories may be more than 100 years old, but that sharp wit, precise uncompromising vocabulary, and championing of children over unpleasant supervisory adults is timeless … And Quentin Blake’s drawings make them livelier than ever.
In his sleek attacks on pretension and tough unruly optimism, Saki was irreplaceable and unreplaced.
The London Review of Books
Quentin Blake's characteristically spiky illustrations capture the Saki irony well and make these century-old tales feel very fresh.
The School Library Association
Hector Hugh Munro (1870–1916) was a British author best known by his pen name Saki. Although he wrote two novels and several political sketches – most notably The Westminster Alice, a parody authorized by Carroll’s publishers – it is his large output of satirical short stories for which he is remembered, and is still considered one of the masters of the genre.