Margaret Mahy, ill. Quentin Blake
Orion [Hachette] NZ$15
Reviewed by Trevor Agnew
When artist Quentin Blake was UK Children’s Laureate, he made his choice of the world’s best writers for young people, listing Margaret Mahy at the head, and particularly praising the “humour and language in Nonstop Nonsense; not nonsense at all, a lot of the time, wisdom skewed around sideways a bit.”
First published in 1977, Nonstop Nonsense is a marvellous collection of pixilated poems and stories, all of them showing Mahy’s skilful ability to use word-play and turn ideas upside down.
Who else could develop a funny monster story from a couple of bricks, or have a spider and fly use their time trapped in a vacuum cleaner to create a peaceable kingdom?
The poems are gems and the story of The Man from the Land of Fandango is so good that it became a picture book.
Quentin Blake’s exuberant illustrations are completely integrated into the book, making it a classic- reissued for a new generation to enjoy.
This review originally appeared in Fairfax NZ newspapers in December 2015.