Lion of the NZ literary world laid to rest

Yesterday one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed authors and much-beloved children’s author Margaret Mahy passed away after a brief illness. She was 76.

Many other people have written tributes, and done a far better job of it than I ever could. You can read some of them here: NZ Herald article and Beattie’s Book Blog. BTW, the comments left on Beattie’s Book Blog’s tribute make wonderful reading. It’s very obvious Margaret touched many people’s lives, both personally, and through her books.

For me and my family, Margaret will always be remembered for her brilliantly crafted children’s books, and especially A Lion in the Meadow.

I don’t know about other parents, but despite loving reading with a passion, some children’s books bored me to tears. Perhaps it was because they lost their charm after I had to read them over, and over, and over, and over! again to my eager youngsters. Yet despite multiple reads, A Lion in the Meadow never lost its charm. It was quirky and fun and delicious, and somehow appealed to both my kids, myself, and my husband. It was simply a delight to read aloud, and I can only imagine how much skill and word-craft and personality it takes to write a book with such broad appeal, and that remains timeless to this day. (A Lion in the Meadow was first published in 1969!)

(My kids are now teens, and our copy of A Lion in the Meadow is somewhat battered and well-thumbed, and carefully stored in a carton with other treasured toys and books in the event I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren to share them with.)

Thank you, Margaret, for all the joy and delight you’ve given us. You will be sorely missed.

And as Kate, a Beattie’s Book Book Blog commenter, put it: “We hope you are romping with the lion in the meadow.”



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