cover image Clancy's Cabin

Clancy's Cabin

Margaret Mahy, Barbara Steadman. Overlook Press, $14.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-87951-592-8

Written in 1975 and now published for the first time in the U.S., this buoyant caper set in rural New Zealand is simpler and less substantial than Mahy's recent The Other Side of Silence (reviewed Oct. 9). With four children the Harrington household is a boisterous one, but the birth of twins makes things noisier than ever. Jovial Mr. Harrington (who is ""remarkably pleased with life"") spruces up a neglected cabin owned by an old friend and announces that the three oldest children, Skip, Marina and Timothy, can use it for an extended camping trip. The siblings are thrilled, portentously thinking of the cabin ""as an Aladdin's cave that might hold bright treasure."" What they find is even better: an old map that in fact leads them to treasure-and to a warm-hearted elderly woman who enticingly brings their family's past alive. Never mind the unlikelihood of parents letting kids aged eight, 10 and 11 stay alone (and cook with fire) for days on end-this credibility lapse only adds to the kid-appeal of Mahy's high-spirited adventure. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)