Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tale of a tail by Margaret Mahy illustrated by Tony Ross

This is such a charming and sweet little story by one of my favourite writers - Margaret Mahy.

Tom moves into a new street - Prodigy Street.  Shortly afterwards someone else moves in at the other end of the street - Mr Mirabilis and his dog Najki.

You know the expression - be careful what you wish for?  Well that certainly applies here.  Tom comments that their street looks a little uninteresting.

"I think it's a bit too ordinary' said Tom. 'I'd like it to be a bit ... a bit sort of wilder! ... it would be great if it was spring now,' said Tom.  'I wish the trees were flowering.'  And Najki barked as if he was agreeing with Tom, switching his stubby tail up and down."

Take a closer look at this.  His tail is moving up and down not from side to side.  This is no ordinary dog - he is able to grant wishes using his magical wagger.  Each of the short chapters in Tale of a Tail contains a story of wishes and their consequences.  Wishing to win the inter school rugby game, wishing to save a cat from a gang of boys, and perhaps even wishing for a dog of your own.

Margaret Mahy sadly died at the beginning of 2012 and so this is one of her final books.  I think it would make a good little family read-a-loud.  The occasional chapter from Najki's point of view adds to the fun and so do the fabulous line drawings by the very talented Tony Ross.

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