Author(s): Margaret Mahy
When a hippo follows him home, Robert is pleased - but his parents are not! As more and more hippos crowd into the garden they turn to a witch for help. Detailed line and pastel drawings and a deliciously understated text combine in a very funny picture book.
In 1936, the year Margaret Mahy was born, only four books for children were published in New Zealand. Mahy was influential in changing the landscape of children's literature in her homeland - one of the most prolific of authors, she penned over 100 titles. Her output includes poetry, picture books, works for older children, teenage novels, television scripts and stories for magazines and newspapers. Mahy grew up in a close family with five brothers and sisters. Her always vivid imagination made life at school interesting rather than easy. After seeing The Jungle Book, she announced to her astonished seven-year-old classmates that she could talk to animals - 'I had to resort to talking a certain gibberish and eating leaves and drinking out of puddles to prove how close I was to the Animal Kingdom.' She started writing as a young child and admitted to being something of a show-off - 'I can remember carrying my notebooks around in an effort to introduce them into the conversation.' She began writing children's books in earnest at the age of eighteen, whilst training to be a children's librarian. Her big break came fifteen years later - in 1968 - when an American publisher came across the text of A Lion in the Meadow and bought it, along with all the other work Mahy had produced over the years. Eight books hit the presses simultaneously. She