Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy Illus Tony Ross.
I hoped there was another Margaret Mahy lurking around somewhere, this is it and it is a beauty.
Tom and his mum moved into Prodigy Street on Thursday, a street that is dominated by cats and sorely needs a dog or two to even things up. On the Sunday Tomasz Mirabilis in his flowing black cloak with red lining moves into the red roofed house at the end of the street with his magical dog Najki.
Najki has a wagger that moves up and down and it grants wishes but be careful what you wish for it may come true. Careless wishing can cause problems and it does.
Tom strikes up a friendship with Mr Mirabilis and Najki and also with Sarah a cat lover from down the street. They go to the Farfetched school and have rivals at the Weasel school from across town and also from a boy gang called the Cat-kickers. Both are going to be dealt with by Najki’s wishing tale.
Oh but things go wrong. A wild cat named Miaouler the Yowler delivers a frenzied attack on Najki and suddeenly all is different again. But in true Margaret Mahy fashion, the ordinary world for the children now seems so extraordinary. Positive to the end.
Brilliant writing with the usual emphasis on language. This is Margaret’s forte and she doesn’t let you down.
The inimitable Tony Ross illustrates in his usual way with understated physical features but hugely expressive faces on both humans and animals. The illustration of Miriabilis at the beginning of chapter one sets the pattern for things to come.
Delicious read for primary children and for adults who like clever writing.