One rainy spring night when she was nearly ten years old, a girl named Magrit climbed onto the roof of the chapel at the centre of the octagonal cemetery that was her home. She nestled herself against a tall, skeletal figure that gazed out across the grounds like an ancient guardian. Together, they bathed in the light that shimmered through the curtains of the surrounding buildings.
Magrit, a nearly ten-year-old girl, lives in a tiny cemetery. Her only company is Master Puppet, whose words speak directly into her mind. She is mostly content, even if sometimes she and Master Puppet do not agree. Before a stork drops a bundle into the cemetery, her life is one of leisure, if sometimes unexciting. But the arrival of the bundle alters her life, fills it with activity and causes the biggest disagreement with Master Puppet. Her life will never be the same. Text is interspersed with black and white illustrations, and wrapped in cloth binding.
Magritis a beautiful book, from the dark purple binding with stylised illustrations on cover and internally. Magrit, the main character, is a grounded, thoughtful character, guided by internal wisdom from Master Puppet. Her world is turned upside down by the appearance of the bundle, but she adapts to this change as she has adapted to being trapped within the cemetery. She continues despite the warnings from Master Puppet, making her own decisions and growing towards the both surprising and inevitable conclusion. Themes include resilience, responsibility and independence, wrapped up in a suspenseful and fantastical mystery. Recommended for mid-primary readers.
Magrit, Lee Battersby
Walker Books 2016
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller