Marina Warner

The Impossible Series




The Wobbly Tooth, Methuen Publishing, (London 1984)
The Impossible Rocket (London, 1982-83)
The Impossible Night (London, 1982-83)
The Impossible Day (London, 1982-83)
The Impossible Bath (Un Bain Pas Comme Les Autres) (London, 1982-83)

“My son Conrad used to ask wonderful questions, as children do, somehow homing in on the heart of the mystery. Going up to bed one day he turned around and asked, ‘Mum, why do the stairs stay up?’
I began taking down these things he was asking, and making up stories that gave sort of answers and also pointed to similar wonderful – kind of ‘ impossible’ aspects of the ordinary world. The first book – The Impossible Day – was about animals and touches on extraordinary skills they have, such as bees dancing to tell one another where honey is to be found. The last one – The Impossible Object – tells a story of Conrad building a tower, with ‘impossible’ angles and cantilevers. Conrad is now a sculptor and the illustration in the book turned out to be prophetic.

The series was brought out by Walker Books in the first years of its existence. Sebastian (‘Sebby’) Walker was a very close friend from my Oxford days, and he began this new publishing house exclusively for children’s books. It was a stroke of inspiration and the firm quickly became a huge success, one of the great stories of independent publishing.

The Wobbly Tooth followed the Impossibles, as I was still taking my inspiration from Conrad and he was growing up and losing his milk teeth.

My favourite of these stories I wrote for Conrad is The Impossible Bath because I still find it magical, strange, and funny that pumice stones float.”

First published by Methuen, 1981