cover image Guest: A Changeling Tale

Guest: A Changeling Tale

Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-358-06731-3

In a striking departure from her more familiar ghost stories, Hahn (The Girl in the Locked Room) draws from Irish folklore to tell a darkly haunting tale. Mollie has grown up in a comfortable home in a village guarded by chilling superstitions. Local legends warn of the Kinde Folke, beings known to steal human babies and replace them with vile changelings. When Mollie removes her baby brother’s protective necklace given to him by Granny Hedgepath, who is rumored to be a witch, Thomas promptly disappears, and a goblinlike creature is left in his place. Mollie leaves the village with the changeling child, whom she names “Guest,” in hopes of finding the elusive Kinde Folke and pleading with them to exchange Guest for Thomas. Hahn blends sinister magic and unexpected tenderness as Mollie’s relationship with the changeling child—who grows at a preternatural rate, quickly learning to walk and talk—evolves from spiteful to sympathetic and, finally, to loving and protective. Magical forces and frightening figures lurk throughout Hahn’s story, which pays tribute to its source material while maintaining a quality of emotional rawness and originality. Ages 10–12. [em](Sept.) [/em]