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The Changeling

By Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Changeling

The Changeling

By Zilpha Keatley Snyder

A shrewd, entertaining story of two girls from very different backgrounds growing up together in California.

Trade Information: LGEN
Available as: Hardback

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Ivy Carson belonged to the notorious Carson family which lived, from time to time, in a rundown house on the outskirts of Rosewood, California – moving out whenever the police or the debt-collectors got too close. But Ivy wasn't like the other Carsons. Martha Abbott, who came from a well-run, affectionate home, was frightened by a great many things when she was small, and the Carsons frightened he more than most; but Ivy didn't scare her a bit. Ivy was different.

"I'm really a changeling," Ivy said, quite casually. A changeling, according to Ivy, was the child of magic creatures – a witch's baby, or maybe a troll's – exchanged for a human baby during the first hours of life. Martha was fascinated by the idea, and watching Ivy slide down their tree-rope, spinning in and out of shadow and sunlight, she didn't doubt it for a moment.

That first meeting took place when Ivy and Martha were still small, and in spite of the Abbott family's disapproval, in spite of the way the Carsons disappeared for years at a time, their friendship was to last right through, from eight to fifteen and beyond. The times when Ivy was around were special for Martha, exciting and alive despite the trouble their friendship sometimes brought – for Rosewood wasn't a good place top be different in. What they gave her was worth any amount of sniping.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder was born in California and has lived there almost all her life. She taught for a number of years, and served as a master teacher for the University of California, before giving up teaching to write books. She is married and has three children, Susana, Douglas and Benton. With her family she lives near Santa Rosa in California. When one of her other books, The Headless Cupid, was published in Great Britain in 1972, the Birmingham Post wrote: "Few children's writers are blessed with such a marvellous talent for comic invention or for characters so entirely convincing."

Sometimes a book turns up with what might be called instant appeal: you really want to know the next move, to go where the characters take you. The Changling seemed to me, as I read it, a book of that kind. Naomi Lewis, in The Newsagent and Bookshop
Amusing, perceptive and touching, written with ease and point, this is an almost classic example of the book programmed directly for young readers – none the worse for it, but proving, perhaps, that there is such a thing as a 'children's book'. Growing Point