A delightful children's book by Gerald Durrell
Penelope, Peter, and Simon, while vacationing in Greece, discover an unusual brown parcel washed up on the shore - unusual because it seems to be talking to itself! It turns out to contain The Parrot and his singing spider Dulcibelle, refugees from Mythologia, a land created by H.H. the wizard as a sanctuary for mythological creatures. Mythologia has been overtaken by the evil cockatrices, and Parrot needs the children's help to defeat them! They journey through Mythologia, meeting strange and fanciful creatures and having an adventure or two on the way in their quest to save Mythologia.
This is a big lump of wonderful. The master counter spy toad with his inept disguises, ("I'm a Polish count wot's lost his castle an' all, with two motherless daughters at home!" "You don't look like a count." "Well of course not, I was changed in the cradle, wasn't I!"), the arrogant parrot, the bizarre german griffons, the tenacious Penelope, the egocentric Parrot - they'll creep in to your head and take up residence. The most common edition (it is, sadly, out of print) has beautiful accompanying illustrations by Pamela Johnson. The style of writing is a little reminiscent of L. Frank Baum - the tone of a kindly adult who doesn't completely understand children, but who is telling such a wonderful story that it doesn't matter one bit. Recommended, recommended, recommended. You may have to comb libraries and used book stores to find it, but everyone deserves to have this as a bedtime story at least once.