Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy and Tony Ross

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Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy and Tony Ross

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Simple and charming - a lovely, magical doggy story!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
ISBN: 9781444012156

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Imagine you have a dog. (That would be nice...I'd like a dog). Now imagine that the dog is magical! He's a special sort of dog who can grant wishes, just with a special up and down wag of his tail. There couldn't be anything better, could there, than a dog that grants wishes? Just so long as you're always very careful about what you wish for whenever that dog is within hearing range!

When Tom and his mum move into Prodigy Street they find that it's a very eventful place to live. There's a mysterious house, down the road, and in the house there's an even more mysterious man, and his friendly dog, Najki, who seems to have a terribly powerful tail! Tom strikes up a friendship with the man and his dog, and is soon taking walks with Najki. He discovers that Najki has magical powers and can grant wishes which, initially, seems like a great idea. But perhaps it isn't always a good thing to get what you wish for, something that Tom's mother discovers quite quickly when she wishes one day that instead of doing housework she was sitting up in the top of the tree like a bird!

I did like this story. I'm a sucker for doggy stories anyway, and this one is charming. Interspersed between the story chapters we get to hear from Najki himself who is, it has to be said, terribly conceited about his magical powers! He thinks he's the most marvellous dog! I really liked his little chapters as they made me chuckle. The story itself works well too. It's a little bit crazy, because of course a magical wish-granting dog is crazy to begin with, but it just has an odd style that's slightly unsettling to begin with but then works well with the story. The flavour of it, if you know what I mean by the flavour of a book, rather reminded me of the Hayao Miyazaki animated films which are also rather odd, in very charming ways!

I liked Tom, and I liked how he reacts to the magic. It does start to swell his head, so he becomes rather proud of himself, being the friend of such a magical dog as Najki! Still, the way Mahy works through the idea of a life full of magic is rather lovely, and the ending is great! There are pictures throughout from the ever-brilliant Tony Ross. Najki is portrayed as suitably scruffy-looking for my liking, and of course the pictures help break the story up and give reading prompts to any slightly less able readers. The chapters can run to quite a few pages, so this would really be best for a confident reader, but the story would be enjoyed just as well if it were being read aloud to a younger audience. Perfect for boys and girls alike, you'll find yourself watching all the wagging dogs you meet in the street very carefully in future!

For more doggy delights, you might like to try Blamehounds (Little Gems) by Ross Collins

Buy Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy and Tony Ross at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy and Tony Ross at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy and Tony Ross at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy and Tony Ross at Amazon.com.


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