M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman

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Bloomsbury 2008.
(Age 13+) Eleven short stories ranging from the whimsical to the very scary make up this collection by master storyteller Neil Gaiman. The frightening ones remained with me long after I finished reading them. Their ambiguous endings demand that the readers use their imagination, which is often richer than the written word, to decide what could have occurred. What really happened to the Runt, a friendless, young boy who ran away and met a ghost in the dark? What would happen when the Black Cat finally could not fight the devil and keep the evil away? Other stories like the one where the hardboiled detective is hired by Jill Dumpty to investigate Humpty's fall, were laced with humour and word play and were fun to read.

The collection concluded with the poem, Instructions. Here is its conclusion:

'When you reach the little house, the place your
journey started,
you will recognize it, although it will seem
much smaller than you remember.'

Readers will indeed find that their world has grown larger after reading these stories.
Pat Pledger