Review Blog

Jun 01 2010

Kaitangata Twitch by Margaret Mahy

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2010. ISBN 9781742373966.
(Age 11+) Recommended. A dark island, which calls, 'Feed. Need', a property developer determined to take over the hillsides overlooking the bay and a young girl who sleepwalks and dreams of a powerful enchantress, all combine to make a powerful story. When Sebastian Cardwell comes back to town and gets elected to the council, it looks as if the peaceful life that Meredith's family has enjoyed will end. What is worse, he wants to build a holiday house on Kaitangata Island, which has been her special refuge. As the protests grow, so do Meredith's dreams of a brooding being on the island.
Kaitangata Twitch is a gripping story which looks at the theme of conservation, the power of wealth versus the individual and whether the land has a voice of its own. Mahy manages to give both viewpoints about land development. Mr Gallagher and his daughter Kate are vocal opponents of any change coming to their New Zealand bay, which is only 35 minutes from the city. Mrs Gallagher is more tolerant, pointing out that they were intruders not that long ago and that perhaps others have the right to a beautiful setting.
Mahy has a deft hand with language. She describes the island with memorable imagery, painting a frightening picture of an entity with a wide mouth that wants to feed. Mahy had me on the edge of my seat whenever the island called to Meredith with the word 'Flick!' and she responded by sleepwalking. There are plenty of plot twists, uncertainty about what is dream and what is real and a surprise denouement.
A very welcome re-issue to coincide with the television program Kaitangata twitch (2005) is a compelling story with elements of the supernatural that will appeal especially to girls. Because of its examination of issues like conservation, wealth and passive and aggressive protests it would be an interesting discussion text for lower secondary students.
Pat Pledger

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals 2017 longlist
CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
Newbery and Caldecott Medals 2017
ALA awards 2017
Costa Children's Book Award 2016
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates