Margaret Mahy, R.I.P

Sad news greeted me on the radio news this morning. New Zealand’s most prolific and celebrated children’s and young people’s author had passed away aged 76 years.

My children grew up reading and enjoying many of Margaret Mahy’s 100 plus picture books. And as a passionate reader of books to my children I enjoyed her writing immensely.

Her linguistic skills, rhymes, rhythms, fantasies, adventures and magical stories were juicy and rich for humans of every age.

This is a hallmark for me in terms of children’s authors. If the adult reading loves the books and stories as much as the child the author is a real winner.

If you want to learn more about this stunning woman, who was a kind, generous and very giving person as well as a very funny and clever performer, then read this piece on the NZ Book Council website.

Here are two books off my bookshelf that are well-thumbed, attesting to how often they have been held and read.

I am very keen to seek out some of her newer picture books to read to my grandchildren. I particularly love “Bubble trouble” and “Down the back of the chair” but there are many more rich pickings awaiting me and the future generations.

While I had my lunch today I read her story “The Princess and the Clown”

It ends with zinging, colourful, dramatic language “ Let off all the fireworks, ring all the bells, blow all the trumpets, a princess is marrying a clown and they will have children half kings and queens, half tumble-down clowns, who will lead us through the twisted ways of the world with laughter”

Margaret Mahy leaves a giant legacy.

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