'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Margaret Mahy

I was sorry to hear that a wonderful New Zealand writer died yesterday afternoon.

Margaret Mahy not only wrote great children's books, but also went out into the community and read them to children in libraries and schools.  She was an eccentric and zany person, with a wonderful sense of humor.  Both qualities are in abundance in her books.

Two of my kid's favorite books 'A Lion in a Meadow' and 'The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate' were written by Margaret Mahy.  She has been an important part of many New Zealand children's growing up.

Author Margaret Mahy with children, by Phil Reid,
1992. Evening Post Collection,
Alexander Turnbull Library. EPC EP/1992/2237/9

More information here on Stuff.

Update:  Some lovely personal comments and reminiscences from everyday people in New Zealand here.


  1. I continue to be amazed how insular we are when it comes to books in these modern times when everything is so "global" . I've never heard of this author before as many of the bloggers out there have not heard of Aussie authors. I guess there are just so many books out there these days only the very good or the very lucky authors become known all over the world.

  2. Hi Helsie. Yes, there are a lot of very good books out there.
    However Mahy was unusual in that she was probably better known outside NZ than within... She was the only non-Brit to win the Carnegie medal, for example.

  3. A new writer for me too, although I can't say I'm a big reader of children's books, certainly not for the last 20 years or so. She looks to be quite a character though.

    1. SP, She was intensely interested in children. I heard that if she was eating in a restaurant and a baby came in with its parents, she would get up and go and talk to it. Not in a gooey way, but because (the interviewee was saying) she was very INTERESTED in the 'person' of the child.

      Perhaps there will come a time when you get familiar with children's books all over again. If that time comes, I can highly recommend 'A Lion in a Meadow'.

  4. May she rest in peace and may the legacy of her creativity and hard work resonate for many more years to come.

    1. Yes YP. Indeed. All any of us could wish for. Which reminds me, I must finish reading yours...


Spam will go in the incinerator. All other comments are gratefully received. Communication is what makes the world go 'round.