Books by Jan Nesbitt

Released: March 31, 1992

Eleven stories that first appeared in the 70's in The First, Second, and Third Margaret Mahy Story Books, apparently never distributed in the US. As suggested by the large format and many colorful illustrations, these are for younger children and are far less complex and allusive than, say, The Door in the Air (1991); nor do they have the rambunctious humor and irrepressible wordplay of Mahy's Nonstop Nonsense (1989). Some simply present an idea without much development: rude old "Aunt Nasty," a witch who visits a normal family, surprises her niece and nephew by magically providing a perfect birthday party as she departs; the title story concerns a giant oyster, finally captured after it swallows a truck full of "champagne and carrot whisky" and becomes "hopelessly inebriated." Some stories have more of Mahy's characteristic subtlety and wit: in "Looking for a Ghost," a boy is shown around a scary old house by a little girl without realizing that she is the spirit he seeks; and in "Teddy and the Witches," a small boy traps a witch after she and her sisters have turned all the cows into elephants; he steadfastly refuses to free her (despite the glorious adventures the witches inflict on him) until the cows are restored to normal. The text here, while printed large, is substantial, best for able readers or for sharing aloud. An inviting volume, a bit uneven but with much to amuse and enrich. (Short stories. 7-11)Read full book review >