Tag: Margaret Mahy


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

42 Word Retrospective: The Great Piratical Rumbustification by Margaret Mahy

The Great Piratical Rumbustification (& The Librarian and the Robbers) by Margaret Mahy (J. M. Dent, 1978) 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!