Books: A Children's Sampler

MIDNIGHT is A PLACE. 287 pages. Viking. $6.95. ARABEL'S RAVEN. 118 pages. Doubleday. $4.95. Both by Joan Aiken. The author of that incomparable melodrama The Wolves of Willoughby Chase has two remarkably different books out this year, both splendid. Midnight Is a Place is a savage yet romantic tale about what befalls a boy and girl, suddenly homeless and penniless, in a terrifyingly real and at the same time satisfyingly imaginary industrial city in 19th century Britain. This smoke-filled place is appropriately called Blastburn. Among other chores for survival, the girl collects cigar...

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