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Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy


Margaret Mahy was arguably New Zealand’s most well-known, and revered children’s writers, and it is hard not to think about the author and all that she accomplished when reading Tale of a Tail, which was published posthumously. It is a fun story, and in usual Mahy fashion allows even adult readers to enjoy the magic of the world.

When Tom and his mother move to Prodigy Street, so does a man with a magical name, and his dog Najki with the strange wagging tale that always seems to be around whenever strange things happen. Tom soon learns that it is not a good idea to make wishes aloud around the dog – they have a strange way of coming true.


Tale of a Tail gives us the reader Tom’s third person perspective, with intermittent bits of the Najki’s thoughts in first person. The result in an incredibly funny take on what dogs really think about people, and drives though an important message – even a magical wish-granting dog has wishes of his own.


Peppered with black and white illustrations by Tony Ross, Tale of a Tail has a quirky feel and never once looses its charm. Children ages 5-9 will enjoy this marvellous tale of magic, childhood, and owning a pet.


REVIEWER: JJ McConnachie

TITLE: Tale of a Tail

AUTHOR(S): Margaret Mahy

ILLUSTRATOR: Tony Ross

PUBLISHER: Hachette

RRP: $19.99

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