Books and Stories by Margaret Mahy

Books and Stories by Margaret Mahy

Explore the words, wit, and wisdom of Margaret Mahy.

Margaret Mahy’s first published book in 1969, A Lion In The Meadow, was the winner of the prestigious Esther Glen Award. In 2010, one of her last books to be published, The Moon and Farmer McPhee, was the winner of the Book of the Year Award at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Margaret Mahy wrote many books for children and young adults. Christchurch City Libraries holds many of her titles. Find her books in our catalogue:

We also have a short story by Margaret on our web site: The word eater, and her poem Down the back of the chair.

Margaret Mahy book signing. 1986. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Flickr CCL-150-612.
Margaret Mahy book signing. 1986. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Flickr CCL-150-612

Books by Margaret Mahy at the library

Some highlights from each decade of Margaret Mahy's career.


A Lion in the Meadow
Mother didn't believe the little boy's tales about a dragon and lion in the meadow, but to the boy the creatures were very real.


Other titles published in the 1960s include:
Mrs Discombobulous, Pillycock's Shop, The Dragon of an Ordinary Family, The Procession


Clancy's Cabin
The prospect of a surprise camping trip to Clancy's Cabin, their father's favourite boyhood retreat, leaves the three Harriman children unenthusiastic but odd occurrences at the abandoned hut soon lead them into a mysterious adventure.

The Witch in the Cherry Tree
The lovely smell of baking cakes being made by David and his mother lures a witch to their garden. Using all her magic she tries to outwit David and persuade him to part with the cakes. A hilarious and mouth-watering story.


Other titles published in the 1970s include:
Sailor Jack and the 20 Orphans, The Little Witch, The Boy with Two Shadows, The Princess and the Clown, 17 Kings and 42 Elephants, The First Margaret Mahy Story Book, The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate, The Railway Engine and the Hairy Brigands, The Second Margaret Mahy Story Book, Rooms to Let, Stepmother, The Bus Under the Leaves


The Changeover: a Supernatural Romance
When her baby brother seems to become possessed by an evil spirit, fourteen-year-old Laura seeks the help of the strangely compelling older boy at school who she is convinced has supernatural powers.

The Catalogue of the Universe
A novel which explores the extraordinary depth of friendship between Angela May, beautiful, light-hearted and confident, and Tycho Potter, plain, serious and self-conscious. They couldn't be more different, yet when Angela needs a friend to confide in, it is to Tycho she turns.

The Haunting
The family of Barney's dead mother is aware that there is something special about this particular boy. As he resigns himself to being haunted again, his sister and brother set out to discover the reason behind his supernatural attraction.

On the fifth anniversary of his older sister's death, nineteen-year-old Jonny Dart, troubled by feelings of guilt and an imperfect memory of the event, goes in search of the only other witness to the fatal accident and, through a chance meeting with a senile old woman, finds a way to free himself of the past.

The man whose mother was a pirate
A man gives up his office job and runs off to sea with his old mother who used to be a pirate.

The great white man-eating shark
Norvin is a very good actor, but rather plain. In fact, he looks very like a shark, and more than anything, he loves to shoot through the water like a silver arrow. But his cunning plan to clear the water at Caramel Cove badly misfires.

The girl who washed in moonlight


Other titles published in the 1980s include:
Raging Robots and Unruly Uncles Peter Stevenson, The Chewing-gum Rescue and Other Stories, The Pirates' Mixed-up Voyage: Dark Doings in the Thousand Islands, Leaf Magic and Five Other Favourites, The Birthday Burglar & A Very Wicked Headmistress, The Dragon's Birthday, Jam: a True Story


Tris' imaginary world is invaded by real danger when he and his new friend Winola are kidnapped by Winola's estranged father. The underrunners, a network of tunnels beneath the tussock, provide no security against reality.

A Summery Saturday Morning
The children go down to the sea on a summery, Saturday morning, down the wiggly track, scattering shells and leaping logs. But first their dogs chase a cat, then they chase a boy on a rattly bike, then wild geese hiss and chase the children and the dogs and the walk is not so peaceful after all.

A Villain's night out
In Squidgy Moot, Formby has dreamt up the perfect villain for the book he plans to write. But Squidgy immediately appears as large as life, and he has his own very decided ideas for the story.

Bubble Trouble
When little Mabel’s bubble gets away from her, it’s her baby brother who gets into trouble. Soon he’s floating out of the house, above the fence, and all over town! And it’s up to Mabel, Mother, and the rest of the townspeople to get him safely back down. Who knew that so much trouble could come from one little bubble?



Other titles published in the 1990s include:
Dangerous Space, The Pumpkin Man and the Crafty Creeper, Keeping House, The Girl With the Green Ear: Stories about Magic in Nature, The Horrendous Hullabaloo, A Busy Day for a Good Grandmother, A Fortunate Name, A Fortune Branches Out, The Good Fortunes Gang, The Three-legged Cat


The Tricksters
The Hamiltons look forward to their annual Christmas holiday on the New Zealand coast. Jack and Naomi, their five children and their guests are settling in to the chaotic family atmosphere at the sprawling home known as Carnival's Hide when the world is thrown out of order by the unexpected arrival of three visitors.

Awesome Aotearoa
New Zealand history like never before! Look for New Zealand on the map. There is the North Island like some long-necked creature leaping up and away, trying to escape from the South Island and Stewart Island, anxious to have a few adventures on its own. But the South Island, sternly oblong, holds it back and Stewart Island finally anchors it down. You’re not having any adventures without me, it mutters. Don’t think you can leave me behind just because I’m smaller than you two! For New Zealand is certainly an adventurous country…
Margaret Mahy joins forces with top New Zealand political cartoonist, Trace Hodgson, in this hilarious and irreverent history of Aotearoa.

Kaitangata twitch
What happens to a girl who has dangerous dreams? What if the land itself punishes those who would harm it? This is a supernatural eco-thriller for young teenagers about a girl caught up in a fight over a beautiful wild island, where different values, commercial interests and versions of the past collide.

Maddigan’s Fantasia
In a time not too far from our own, a colourful and bizarre group of travellers brave a post apocalyptic landscape — the acrobats, clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers and musicians who make up Maddigan’s Fantasia.
Made into a 13 part half-hour children’s television series, Maddigan’s Quest, by South Pacific Pictures in 2006.

Bubble trouble
Little Mabel blew a bubble and it caused a lot of trouble! Such a lot of bubble trouble in a bibble-bobble way. For it broke away from Mabel as it bobbed across the table, where it bobbled over Baby, and it wafted him away. Follow the hilarious efforts of the townsfolk as they chase the baby far across the town in an effort to get him down from the bubble safe and sound.

Down the back of the chair
A poor family is searching down the back of a chair for Dad’s lost car keys and, miraculously in the mess of things back there, their financial problems are solved. You can read the poem Down the back of the chair on this website.

The word witch: the magical verse of Margaret Mahy
A selection of the poetry of Margaret Mahy, from picture books, anthologies and her other writings.
Selected by Tessa Duder and illustrated by David Elliot.

Twenty-four hours
Compelling drama in which 17-year-old Ellis comes to terms with the meaning of death. Ellis is an ordinary 17-year-old; someone who's planning to finish school and go to university like any other teenager.

Blackmailed by a teacher, Roland must befriend a misfit girl, or have his out-of-character petty crime exposed. When Jess refuses to respond to his advances he becomes intrigued. He discovers she has a dark secret - then goes on to discover that he has a dark secret of his own.


Other titles published in the 2000s include:

A Dissolving Ghost: Essays and More, Down the Dragon's Tongue, The Riddle of the Frozen Phantom, Alchemy, Dashing Dog!, 24 hours, Family Surprises, Portable Ghosts, The Magician of Hoad, The Dark Blue 100-ride Bus Ticket.


Organ music
Two boys wind up deep in a forest where they encounter a scientist who is mad with grief over his dead daughter. Will the boys become victims of his creepy experiments? A short book, creepy and thrilling.

The Margaret Mahy treasury
Eleven favourite stories by Margaret Mahy. Includes A lion in the meadowThe witch in the cherry treeThe great piratical rumbustificationThe great white man-eating sharkThe librarian and the robbers, and The man whose mother was a pirate.

The moon and Farmer McPhee
A heart-warming story — with lots of fun wordplay — about a grumpy farmer whose animals keep him awake at night singing and dancing by the light of the moon. Eventually he is won over by the moon and the animals and learns how to be happy.
This book won the 2011 New Zealand Post Children’s Picture Book of the Year Award and the overall Book of the Year Award.

The man from the land of Fandango
The man from the land of Fandango is coming to pay you a call! He wears a hat with a tassel and a polka-dot tie — and he juggles and bounces and dances with bears, bison, baboons, kangaroos and even dinosaurs. He’s wonderful and amazing — so watch out for him, and watch carefully — because he only appears every 500 years!
Illustrated by Polly Dunbar.

Mister Whistler
Absentminded Mister Whistler always has a song in his head and a dance in his feet. In a rush to catch the train, he is so distracted he loses his ticket. Is it in the bottom pockets of his big coat or the top pockets of his jacket? Perhaps he slipped it into his waistcoat… Where is Mister Whistler’s ticket?
Illustrated by Gavin Bishop.

The green bath
Sammy’s mother tells him to forget about adventures and get cleaned up for his grandmother’s visit, but the new bathtub Sammy’s father brought home seems determined to have an adventure of its own.
Illustrated by Steven Kellogg.


Other titles published in the 2010s include:
Footsteps Through the Fog, The Green Bat, Tale of a tail

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