Tag: Margaret Mahy

The Haunting

The Haunting

by Margaret Mahy (Atheneum, 1982); audiobook read by Richard Mitchley (Bolinda, 2015)

Book cover: “The Haunting” by Margaret Mahy (Atheneum, 1982); audiobook read by Richard Mitchley (Bolinda, 2015)

A surprising, decidedly non-formulaic play on genre expectations. The speculative element remains secondary to what Mahy does best—which is to depict relatable child characters (usually of the unheralded variety) surviving and even flourishing in unromanticised, often broken or ‘found’ family settings.



by Margaret Mahy (Viking, 1992); audiobook read by Richard Mitchley (Brilliance, 2017)

Book cover: “Underrunners” by Margaret Mahy

Set in rural New Zealand, a down-to-earth middle-grade exploration of hope, disappointment and making the most of things; of using imagination as a coping mechanism yet still facing up to reality. Mahy plumps for realism and character development over clichéd happy endings.

The Horribly Haunted School

The Horribly Haunted School

by Margaret Mahy (Hamish Hamilton, 1997); audiobook read by Richard Mitchley (AudioGO, 2011)

Mahy_Horribly Haunted School

A short but fun and lively middle-grade story with happily dovetailing plot threads and larger-than-life characters for the intended audience (and also some light touches of droll absurdism for adult readers). Where the title is somewhat misleading, Mitchley’s audiobook reading is spot-on.



The Downhill Crocodile Whizz

The Downhill Crocodile Whizz and Other Stories

by Margaret Mahy; ill. Jon Riley (Puffin, 1987)

Mahy_Downhill Crocodile Whizz

The lead story doesn’t do justice to this collection. Where ‘The Downhill Crocodile Whizz’ is merely frivolous, the nine subsequent tales offer imagination of substance, combining fairy-tale whimsy with offbeat social observations and gently eccentric worldbuilding. Jon Riley’s illustrations egg the pudding.



The Great Piratical Rumbustification

The Great Piratical Rumbustification (& The Librarian and the Robbers)

by Margaret Mahy (J. M. Dent, 1978)

Mahy_The Great Piratical Rumbustification

Two stories by New Zealand’s doyen of children’s books: the second, a quietly subversive extolment of libraries; the first, a droll yet puckishly young-at-heart parable on quality of life, with bonhomous pictures by Quentin Blake and an endearingly rumtiddlyumptious neologism to boot!