Books by Margaret Mahy

THE GREEN BATH by Margaret Mahy
Released: July 1, 2013

"A rumpus in the bathroom that readers are sure to try to emulate, even if only in their imaginations—lay down some towels before filling the tub! (Picture book. 4-8)"
A very imaginative boy has the bath adventure of a lifetime. Read full book review >
MISTER WHISTLER by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 2013

"This romp fits in beautifully with Mahy's other wacky picture books; pair it with Song and Dance Man for a lively read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-7)"
This sprightly, whimsical tale will induce plenty of giggles and start toes to tapping. Read full book review >
MAN FROM THE LAND OF FANDANGO by Margaret Mahy
Released: Oct. 23, 2012

"Wonderfully exuberant and completely delightful. (Picture book. 3-8)"
There's fun for all when the man from Fandango comes to call. Read full book review >
THE MAGICIAN OF HOAD by Margaret Mahy
FANTASY
Released: Nov. 10, 2009

"Some deep and quenching revelations arrive, finally, but this poetically cryptic prose is for readers who prefer adult fare. (Fantasy. 15 & up)"
Abstraction and surrealism pull this fantasy almost all the way into the adult section. Read full book review >
BUBBLE TROUBLE by Margaret Mahy
FICTION
Released: April 6, 2009

"A frothy, effervescent gift. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Mabel blows a bubble that envelops her baby brother, gently wafting him all over the village, causing shock and excitement among the population. Read full book review >
MADDIGAN’S FANTASIA by Margaret Mahy
FANTASY
Released: Oct. 9, 2007

"An intense time-travel tale packed with Mahy's usual repertoire of memorable tricksters, magical happenings and ominous undertones. (Fantasy. 10-16)"
A feisty circus girl and two alien boys embark on a perilous quest to save a failing city in this fantastical futurist adventure. Read full book review >
DOWN THE BACK OF THE CHAIR by Margaret Mahy
FICTION
Released: June 12, 2006

"Dunbar's delightfully loose illustrations in watercolor and cut paper provide a satisfying complement to Mahy's poem, with whimsical creatures, juicy colors and lots of motion to match the kinetic energy of the text. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A comfy armchair upholstered in a brightly flowered print is the hiding place for a fantastic range of surprises in this rollicking, rhyming treat from the uniquely talented Mahy, winner of the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Award. Read full book review >
ALCHEMY by Margaret Mahy
FANTASY
Released: April 1, 2003

"Still, as a tale with likable protagonists, a ghastly villain, and ghostly special effects, it offers a thrilling ride. (Fiction. YA)"
A prep-school boy blackmailed for shoplifting, a classmate involved in alchemy, and a vampiric magician collecting other people's powers are embroiled in a test of wills and powers that threatens their very lives. Read full book review >
DASHING DOG! by Margaret Mahy
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

"Give that dashing dog a bone. (Picture book. 3-6)"
No one can string together a set of rollicking rhymes quite like the talented Mahy (Down the Dragon's Tongue, 2000, etc.), author of over 150 works for children. Read full book review >
24 HOURS by Margaret Mahy
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"Beautifully written, this is a novel that pulls one into its orbit from the very first page. (Fiction. YA)"
It's 5:10 on a Friday afternoon and Ellis, 17, has just come home after graduating from prep school. Read full book review >
DOWN THE DRAGON’S TONGUE by Margaret Mahy
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"An enormously fun and joyous book that works equally well as a group read-aloud or one-on-one. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Mr. Prospero is a staid businessman who loves the well-ordered world at his office. Read full book review >
THE HORRIBLY HAUNTED SCHOOL by Margaret Mahy
Released: June 1, 1998

"Along with a crisp pace, an abundance of silly words and silly names, and a cast of children who save the day by showing more sense than the adults can muster, this will please Mahy's fans, and will also bring her new ones. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Monty's mother, a champion jigsaw-puzzle solver, is worried about him: He claims to be allergic to ghosts, and to be in contact with the ghost of a girl who lives in an abandoned car. Read full book review >
BEATEN BY A BALLOON by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 1, 1998

"This tale is not exactly a triumph of nonviolence, but offers the insight that pacifism does not equal helplessness; Allen's vigorous, broadly comic illustrations complement the no-frills story nicely. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Mahy (Boom, Baby, Boom, Boom!, 1997, etc.) takes aim at weapons fixation in this madcap picture book. Mr. Appleby rejects his son Sam's pleas to make or buy him violent toys, although it means that both have to put up with sneers from well-armed neighbor Hacky Mackie and his father. Read full book review >
THE FIVE SISTERS by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 1, 1997

"A superb story, gracefully told. (Fiction. 8+)"
A premise prettily developed in Elise Kleven's Paper Princess (1994) takes a profound turn in the hands of Mahy (Tingleberries, Tuckertubs and Telephones, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
BOOM, BABY, BOOM, BOOM! by Margaret Mahy
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

"One yummy book. (Picture book. 1-5)"
Wonderful whimsy and delicious silliness in this read-aloud from Mahy (The Five Sisters, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
TINGLEBERRIES, TUCKERTUBS AND TELEPHONES by Margaret Mahy
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

"A real must-have. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Saracen the Shy lives on Breakfast Island with his adventure- loving grandmother. Read full book review >
THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE by Margaret Mahy
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Fascinating characters, a profound mystery, agonizing suspense only made bearable by the right doses of humor, a palpable atmosphere of dread, and a shocking denouement lead to only one conclusion: Mahy is a writer who just keeps getting better with every book. (Fiction. 10+)"
The Rappers—one of the most endearingly quirky families on record in seasons—are all gifted and a little idiosyncratic. Read full book review >
TANGLED FORTUNES by Margaret Mahy
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

"Quieter than its predecessors, but with a satisfying conclusion. (Fiction. 8-11)"
In the fourth book of The Cousins Quartet, Tracey and her sidekick, younger brother Jackson, are the inadvertent causes of their cousin Prue's reconciliation with her ex-husband, Sy Kennedy. Read full book review >
THE GREATEST SHOW OFF EARTH by Margaret Mahy
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"An imaginative romp. (Fiction. 8- 12)"
This book finds Mahy (A Fortune Branches Out, p. 559, etc.; The Christmas Tree Tangle, see p. 1421) in an antic mode. Read full book review >
THE CHRISTMAS TREE TANGLE by Margaret Mahy
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"Not her best work, but average Mahy beats the rest of the pack when it comes to plain, unaffected fun. (Fiction/Picture book. 5-8)"
Veteran Mahy (A Fortune Branches Out, p. 559, etc.; The Greatest Show Off Earth, see p. p. 1412) scores again with this rhyming tale of animal mayhem. Read full book review >
A FORTUNE BRANCHES OUT by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1994

"A strong third in a lively and likable series. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Book 3 of The Cousins Quartet features Tessa, last seen (in A Foretaste Name, 1993) hoping cousin Lorelei's banker dad will stay married to her aunt so that Tessa can still have his financial counsel. Read full book review >
TICK TOCK TALES by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 1, 1994

"Just right as readalouds or for younger independent readers. (Fiction. 4-10)"
A dozen whimsically offbeat tales: two new, the others recycled from earlier books that didn't, apparently, appear in the US. Read full book review >
A FORTUNATE NAME by Margaret Mahy
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

"Like The Good Fortunes Gang (p. 788), a lively, accessible story told with unusual wit and sagacity. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Book Two of The Cousins Quartet focuses on Lolly Bancroft, whose parents are having a heated quarrel that Lolly imagines will end in divorce—not a pleasing prospect, though she'd like being a full-fledged Fortune like her cousins if Mum reverts to her maiden name. Read full book review >
A BUSY DAY FOR A GOOD GRANDMOTHER by Margaret Mahy
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

"A delight. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Urgently, Scrimshaw telephones his mother for help: Wanda's left him with Sweeney, who's teething, and only some of his grandmother's cock-a-hoop honey cake will mollify him. Read full book review >
THE GOOD FORTUNES GANG by Margaret Mahy
Released: June 1, 1993

"A swell introduction to Mahy. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Small dimensions and an appealing jacket depicting four kids in a treehouse bespeak a popular series book (and this is the first of four); readers drawn by these features won't be disappointed in this accessible story of a family moving from Australia, where they've always lived, to their rolling stone of a father's New Zealand birthplace. Read full book review >
THE THREE LEGGED CAT by Margaret Mahy
Released: May 1, 1993

"Allen's cheerfully bug-eyed characters, plenty big and bold enough to share with a group, wonderfully extend the merriment. (Picture book. 3-8)"
The premise may be slight, but the witty Mahy makes use of it with her usual panache. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1993

"But fun's the main event, in the form of an incredibly intricate plot and continuous wordplay and hilarity- -enough for a dozen more ordinary books. (Fiction. 9-12)"
In the antic spirit of The Blood-and-Thunder Adventure on Hurricane Peak (1989), another from the irrepressible New Zealander's past—published abroad in 1983, a farce involving a young man who escapes managing "Ye Olde Pyratte Shippe Tea Shoppe" to set sail with his staff, already suitably costumed, in the shop/ship, now christened the Sinful Sausage in honor of their hoped-for exploits. Read full book review >
RAGING ROBOTS AND UNRULY UNCLES by Margaret Mahy
Released: Feb. 22, 1993

"Stevenson's comical drawings, on almost every page, add substantially to the fun. (Fiction. 9- 12)"
The irrepressible New Zealander strikes again with a comic tale (coming to the US long after its 1981 publication) about twin brothers—Jasper, who dedicates himself to villainy, and sanctimonious Julian—and their rebellious progeny, loath to emulate their parents. Read full book review >
BUBBLE TROUBLE by Margaret Mahy
Released: Oct. 30, 1992

"For that hilarious first poem, which should become a classic, a must. (Poetry/Fiction. 8-12)"
Those lucky enough to have heard Mahy recite it will remember the title poem here, beginning "Little Mabel blew a bubble and it caused a lot of trouble—/Such a lot of bubble trouble in a bibble-bobble way./For it broke away from Mabel as it bobbed across the table,/Where it bobbled over Baby, and it wafted him away": a masterpiece of witty legerdemain with sound and sense in a breathtaking score of quatrains involving an entire neighborhood before "the baby boy was grounded and his mother held him tight." Read full book review >
THE HORRENDOUS HULLABALOO by Margaret Mahy
Released: June 1, 1992

"An entertaining tale, perfect for sharing. (Picture book. 4-8)"
The illustrator of Mahy's 17 Kings and 42 Elephants (1987) joins the author for another ebullient story. Read full book review >
UNDERRUNNERS by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1992

"A fine prelude to Memory (1988), with a similar theme of self- realization despite—and enriched by—the past's continuing power. (Fiction. 10-14)"
"Underrunners" are narrow ditches, dangerous but intriguing, eroded in the inhospitable ground around 11-year-old Tristram's New Zealand home; here, he keeps a cache of provisions in case of an emergency and later hides his friend Winola (who's tunneled her way out of the nearby Children's Home) when she says she's in danger. Read full book review >
THE GIRL WITH THE GREEN EAR by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1992

"A treasure. (Short stories. 8-12)"
Nine more stories, written by the versatile New Zealander in the 70's but only now published here; their common theme of being in tune with the natural world makes them especially apposite to the 90's. Read full book review >
A TALL STORY AND OTHER TALES by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 31, 1992

"An inviting volume, a bit uneven but with much to amuse and enrich. (Short stories. 7-11)"
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. Read full book review >
THE CHEWING-GUM RESCUE by Margaret Mahy
Released: Feb. 10, 1992

"A must for Mahy fans. (Short stories. 10+)"
Another sampling of the redoubtable New Zealander's matchless wit and irrepressible imagination, 11 stories that— like those in The Door in the Air (p. 474)—were published abroad years ago (in this case, 1982) but are being introduced here only now. Read full book review >
THE QUEEN'S GOAT by Margaret Mahy
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"A more predictable scenario than usual for Mahy, but the contrast between her no-nonsense narrative style and droll details will entertain, while Clark's wide-eyed, insouciant characters and pell-mell action in a serene landscape add to the fun. (Picture book. 4-8)"
The Queen is a child who has no pets because the butler and housekeeper have ruled out dogs and cats ("hair on the cushions...mud all over the palace"). Read full book review >
THE PUMPKIN MAN AND THE CRAFTY CREEPER by Margaret Mahy
Released: May 27, 1991

"Wickedly pointed; thoroughly amusing. (Picture book. 4-10)"
Concocted with Mahy's usual incisive wit, a tall-tale concerning the sort of character that charmingly insinuates itself on the unwary, then makes life miserable with demands and threats. Read full book review >
DANGEROUS SPACES by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1991

"Still, better-than-average fantasy that fans will be delighted to read. (Fiction. 10-14)"
After both her parents die in an accident, Anthea goes to live with her uncle Lionel in the house where she used to visit her grandfather—a busy country house stalled halfway through its renovation because Lionel can't face making changes in the space that belonged to his dead father. Read full book review >
THE DOOR IN THE AIR by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1991

"Rich treasure. (Short stories. YA+)"
From the inventive New Zealander, nine splendid stories—fantastic, funny, satiric, and philosophical in turn, but always allusive, thought-provoking, grounded in fey common-sense (even wizards have compost heaps), and uniquely hers. Read full book review >
KEEPING HOUSE by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 29, 1991

"Smith's comic, loosely drawn illustrations, washed in gentle, forgiving colors, are delightfully full of the details of Lizzie's comfortable disarray and frantic shaping up."
Lizzie Firkin is a songwriter whose successful career includes playing the trombone at a nightclub. Read full book review >
THE SEVEN CHINESE BROTHERS by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1990

"Not a replacement for Bishop but a complement to it, for older children and with more authentic illustrations."
The folk tale made familiar in Bishop's The Five Chinese Brothers (1938) is here in a more expansive version linking it to the tyrannical emperor who planned the Great Wall. Read full book review >
THE GREAT WHITE MAN-EATING SHARK by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 1, 1990

"Just right to share with a bunch of Cub Scouts."
Norvin. . .a good actor but rather plain. . .looked very like a shark." Read full book review >
THE BLOOD AND THUNDER ADVENTURE ON HURRICANE PEAK by Margaret Mahy
Released: Sept. 1, 1989

"A splendid romp, with suitably cartoon-like drawings."
A new, full-length story in the wildly imaginative vein of Non-Stop Nonsense (p. 296/ C-46). Read full book review >
THE TRICKSTERS by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 1, 1989

In a richly textured psychological ghost story set at the summer solstice and Christmas, New Zealand's two-time Carnegie-winner delivers another fascinating novel that defies summarization. Read full book review >
THE BOY WITH TWO SHADOWS by Margaret Mahy
Released: Sept. 1, 1988

"Mahy, of course, brings considerable wit to telling this wry fable; Williams' colorful illustrations, which have a sweet realism rather like Shirley Hughes' work, accentuate the humor and pathos of this very personal loss and reunion."
From the much-honored New Zealand novelist, a revised, newly illustrated picture book that was first published in 1971: A little boy takes such good care of his shadow that a witch prevails on him to babysit with hers while she goes on vacation. Read full book review >
THE BIRTHDAY BURGLAR AND A VERY WICKED HEADMISTRESS by Margaret Mahy
Released: Aug. 31, 1988

"Fine for a read-aloud or a read-alone."
In the vein of the gifted New Zealander's Great Piratical Rumbustification, a pair of fantastical comedies. Read full book review >
MEMORY by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1988

Another splendid, complex tour de force from the Carnegie-winning author of The Haunting and The Tricksters. Read full book review >
17 KINGS AND 42 ELEPHANTS by Margaret Mahy
Released: Sept. 30, 1987

"This should perk up the most jaded group; its merry rhythm begs for a physical response."
A rollicking nonsense rhyme, first published (with different illustrations) in Britain in 1972. Read full book review >
THE GREAT PIRATICAL RUMBUSTIFICATION & THE LIBRARIAN AND THE ROBBERS by Quentin Blake
Released: Oct. 8, 1986

"Blake's zany drawings enhance the fun."
The first American edition of two early (1978) stories by a New Zealand author who has since won two Carnegies. Read full book review >
ALIENS IN THE FAMILY by Margaret Mahy
Released: Aug. 1, 1986

"Jake, who is reconciled with Dora as they work together to save Bond, is no longer an alien in her father's house; yet her own status remains unresolved."
In a vein different from her prize-winning Haunting and Changeover, Malay writes of an extraterrestrial visitation to her native New Zealand. Read full book review >
THE CATALOGUE OF THE UNIVERSE by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 1, 1986

"It is slow-going in some places, and heavy-going in others, but the journey through Angela and Tycho's minds and feelings is well worth the effort."
Malay, who has twice won the Carnegie Medal for her supernatural stories (The Haunting and The Changeover), has now written a brilliant romance. Read full book review >
JAM by Margaret Mahy
Released: Feb. 1, 1985

"And for anyone whose appetite is whetted by the story, a recipe for plum jam appears on the endpapers."
Mr. and Mrs. Castle and three small Castles ("more like Cottages, really") live in a white house with a big lawn. Read full book review >
THE CHANGEOVER by Margaret Mahy
Released: Sept. 14, 1984

"In sum: the best supernatural YA fiction around, with Stephen King power and Mahy's own class and polish."
Again, as in The Haunting (1982), New Zealand writer Mahy proves that all-out supernatural stories can still be written with intelligence, humor, and a fearful intensity that never descends into pretentious murk or lurid sensationalism. Read full book review >
THE HAUNTING by Margaret Mahy
Released: Oct. 22, 1982

"Most compellingly, Mahy projects the haunting with such imaginative force and seriousness that you'll hear those footsteps and that husky voice as Barney does, just as you see Barney's pale transparent face and strange bruised eyes through Tabitha's watchful ones."
For eight-year-old Barney (short for Barnaby), being haunted begins with that "faint dizzy twist in the world around him, the thin singing drone [in] his ear" . . . then a figure slowly forming out of the air, lamenting in a sort husky voice, "Barnaby's dead! Read full book review >
NONSTOP NONSENSE by Margaret Mahy
Released: Nov. 24, 1977

"A treasure trove for storytellers, teachers, parents, or browsers."
Another of the splendid New Zealander's more light-hearted books (now published here for the first time, although its original date was 1977) comprises 10 wildly zany stories and 17 nifty comic poems (yes, poems—there are passages of unexpected loveliness in this light verse). Read full book review >
LEAF MAGIC by Margaret Mahy
Released: Sept. 1, 1977

"Frail whimsey, with a pseudopoint—and weak, washed-out pictures to match."
Running home through the autumn woods, Michael wishes for a dog; but what he gets instead is a giant orange leaf which follows him everywhere. Read full book review >
THE BOY WHO WAS FOLLOWED HOME by Steven Kellogg
Released: Oct. 28, 1975

Robert, "an ordinary boy," doesn't really mind being followed home every day by hippopotami, but after 27 of them have piled up in their goldfish pond, his parents call in a witch to put a hippo-repellent spell on Robert. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1975

"The book's format—framed color pictures facing each page of text—make the whole outing more contained than Mahy's text would indicate, but the meeting does turn out better than we expected too."
The alliance of the irresponsible old and the fancy free young (or vice versa, or whatever) is a currently common theme in children's books; this entry from New Zealand lacks the poignancy of some but is larky enough to carry the occasion. Read full book review >
ROOMS FOR RENT by Margaret Mahy
Released: April 1, 1974

"Jenny Williams' cheerfully fanciful but minimally interesting pictures just barely fill the vacancies in Malay's unrenovated version of the greening of a grump."
Mr. Murgatroyd the landlord "was small and shriveled and as bitter as medicine because of the mean, hard life he had led, and he talked to himself because of his loneliness," but even though he gleefully charges "too much" for his cobwebby rooms, he has no trouble renting them to "a little wispy woman with a wooden leg, a man who pushed his mermaid wife in a wheelbarrow, Mrs. Piper and her 20 children, and a black bear who plays the flute." Read full book review >
THE WITCH IN THE CHERRY TREE by Margaret Mahy
Released: March 15, 1974

"Always one step ahead of his meek and admiring mother in anticipating the witch's ploys, David may have some ego-boosting function, but neither Mahy nor Williams gives the silly business any consequence or zing."
With no more nefarious aim than obtaining some of mother's fresh baked cakes, the witch in David's cherry tree is further defused by her inability to outwit a typical preschooler. Read full book review >