Our Grade Two classes are currently exploring some of my favourite books by New Zealand author Margaret Mahy. Every year or two we revisit her work and I continue to marvel at her story telling and rich vocabulary. Last week we read The Pumpkin man and the Crafty Creeper and in past weeks we read Jam and Beaten by a Balloon.
This week as I drove to work I have been listening to The Margaret Mahy Treasury audio book. This CD contains six stories all read by the author herself :
The Witch in the Cherry tree
A Summery Saturday morning
The boy with two shadows
The Three Legged Cat
The boy who was followed home
We do have all of these books in our library (we have 42 of her books in total). Margaret Mahy wrote over 120 books not to mention her huge output of short stories.
Listening to Margaret Mahy reading her own stories this week really allowed me to appreciate her very special talent of narrative inventiveness. The witch in the story of The Witch in the Cherry tree is so cunning, she tries a host of ploys to get her hands on those cakes but the little boy is not fooled. You can almost smell the fresh cupcakes and feel the warmth of their kitchen. The Three Legged Cat contains such delicious words - rascally roving swagman, revolting moulting Russian hat, chinwag. dot-and-go carry and Cardamon Street. This is such a satisfying story. Mrs Gimble gets the perfect "cat", Cyril has the perfect travelling companion and the cat is able to see the wonders of the world.
I have previously review The man whose mother was a pirate, The Rattlebang picnic, and Jam
Today I was browsing through our new NSW School Magazine anthology. As I flipped the pages I saw several stories by Margaret Mahy. I can't wait for our copy to arrive so I can explore these stores further.
Margaret Mahy was much talked about and missed at the recent IBBY Congress in New Zealand. It was good to see displays of her books, her huge chair (Down the Back of the Chair) and listen to other acclaimed NZ authors celebrate her enormous achievements. I kept thinking how much she would have relished participation in the congress - a celebration of the wonderful world of children's books.