Book Review: Tale of a Tail, by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Tony Ross

Available from bookstores on Tuesday 8 April.

When Tom and his mum move to Prodigy Street,cv_tale_of_a_tail the last thing Tom thinks he’ll find is magic. After all, he is – in his mind, at least – a rather ordinary boy; certainly not the kind of boy who stumbles upon prodigies. Little does Tom know, someone else is moving into Prodigy Street. A mysterious man with a mysterious name, and his dog, Najki…

Soon upon moving in, Tom meets Mr. Tomasz, and quickly learns that he and his dog are more than what they seem. Najki has the power to grant wishes with one wag of his tail. While Tom takes Mr. Tomasz’s advice and tries to be careful, he can’t help but make a few wishes every now and them – and every time he does, Najki makes them come true. Tom finds himself having all kinds of eccentric, crazy adventures; whether it’s escaping the Cat Kickers with his friend Sarah, rescuing his mum from the top of a pine tree, or winning a rugby match.

Being friends with Mr. Tomasz and Najki has changed Tom’s life; Prodigy Street truly does feel like a magical place…but can wishes solve everything? What happens when they go wrong? Tom needs to learn that not all magic lasts, but you can never stop searching for it – and finding it again.

Tale of a Tail is a book that will instantly become a favourite with those both young and young at heart. It’s a prime example of late writing legend Margaret Mahy’s best work; clever, quirky and laced with magic of the most unusual kind. Written in a simple yet cunning way, it will have you busy, looking for your own Prodigy Street.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon

Tale of a Tail
by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Tony Ross
Published by Hachette NZ
ISBN 9781444014228