If I were a children's book author of a certain age, I'd be quaking in my boots. So many VIPs have died in 2012 and the year is only little more than half over. To the list of Maurice Sendak, Jean Craighead George, Else Minarik, and Donald Sobol, we must now add Margaret Mahy, a New Zealander author and winner of the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson medal.
Mahy was a special favorite of mine. She wrote wonderful supernatural novels--I especially like The Haunting and The Changeover--but I'm also a big fan of her picture books. The Man Whose Mother is a Pirate is classic Mahy, as is The Three-Legged Cat. Both books feature characters who trade in their constricted lives to roam the world.
And what a marvelous stylist she was.
“The little man could only stare. He hadn’t dreamed of the BIGNESS of the sea. He hadn’t dreamed of the blueness of it. He hadn’t thought it would roll like kettledrums, and swish itself on to the beach. He opened his mouth and the drift and the dream of it, the weave and the wave of it, the fume and foam of it never left him again. At his feet the sea stroked the sand with soft little paws. Farther out, the great, graceful breakers moved like kings into court, trailing the peacock-patterned sea behind them.”
--From The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate
RIP Margaret Mahy.