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About the book
  • Published: 22 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9781869794088
  • Imprint: RHNZ Children's
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 24
  • RRP: $16.99

The Moon And Farmer McPhee


Formats & editions


A magical picture book that was winner of the 2011 NZ Post Children's Book Awards Book of the Year award

A magical picture book that was winner of the 2011 NZ Post Children's Book Awards Book of the Year award.

The cows and sheep think Farmer McPhee should stop frowning and start frisking. But Farmer McPhee just wants to get some sleep!

Then one moonlit night, something changes... A collaboration between our best loved writer for children, Margaret Mahy, and the wonderfully quirky illustrator, David Elliot, this is a stunning and heart-warming book. Beautifully produced with cut-out sections and fold-out pages, it is a very special gift.

  • Pub date: 22 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9781869794088
  • Imprint: RHNZ Children's
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 24
  • RRP: $16.99

About the Authors

Margaret Mahy

Margaret Mahy is internationally recognised as one of the all-time best writers for young readers, her books having been translated into all the major languages of the world. Twice winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal, she also won the Esther Glen Award five times and the Observer Teenage Fiction Award once. Born in a country town in New Zealand, the oldest of a family of five, with over twenty cousins in the surrounding neighbourhood, Margaret Mahy grew up with a strong sense of being part of a close family. She died in 2012.
In 1936, the year Margaret Mahy was born, only four books for children were published in New Zealand. Mahy was influential in changing the landscape of children's literature in her homeland - one of the most prolific of authors, she penned over 100 titles. Her output includes poetry, picture books, works for older children, teenage novels, television scripts and stories for magazines and newspapers.
Mahy grew up in a close family with five brothers and sisters. Her always vivid imagination made life at school interesting rather than easy. After seeing The Jungle Book, she announced to her astonished seven-year-old classmates that she could talk to animals - 'I had to resort to talking a certain gibberish and eating leaves and drinking out of puddles to prove how close I was to the Animal Kingdom.' She started writing as a young child and admitted to being something of a show-off - 'I can remember carrying my notebooks around in an effort to introduce them into the conversation.'
She began writing children's books in earnest at the age of eighteen, whilst training to be a children's librarian. Her big break came fifteen years later - in 1968 - when an American publisher came across the text of A Lion in the Meadow and bought it, along with all the other work Mahy had produced over the years. Eight books hit the presses simultaneously. She became a full-time writer in 1980 and wrote The Haunting. With this novel, Margaret won the Carnegie Medal (she was the first writer outside the UK to do so). She triumphed again two years later with The Changeover. In 1986, she won the IBBY Honour Book Award. In February 1993, Margaret was awarded New Zealand's highest honour, The Order of New Zealand. She also held an Honorary Doctorate of Letters awarded to her by the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Margaret was a frequent visitor to schools and libraries and was a much-loved and energetic performer.
Margaret passed away on 23 July, 2012.

David Elliot

David Elliot is an award-winning children’s illustrator and author. He has written and illustrated seven picture books, including the ‘Sydney penguin’ books and Pigtails the Pirate (winner of the 2003 NZ Post Children’s Picture Book Award).

He has illustrated for many other New Zealand children’s authors, including Jack Lasenby, Joy Cowley and Janet Frame. In 2009, he illustrated The Word Witch, by internationally acclaimed writer, Margaret Mahy; this won the Honour Award in the 2010 NZ Post Picture Book category. In 2010, he and Margaret again worked together, on The Moon and Farmer McPhee, which won the NZ Post Children’s Book of the Year Award for 2011, the same year David also received the inaugural Arts Foundation Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award.

In 2014 David was awarded the Margaret Mahy Award for lifetime contribution to Children’s literature in New Zealand.

Internationally, David has provided illustrations for Brian Jacques’ Redwall and Castaways series and also for U.S. authors, T.A. Barron and Jeffrey Kluger. More recently, he completed illustrations for John Flanagan’s bestselling Ranger’s Apprentice series. David’s picture book Henry’s Map published by Philomel Books (USA) was recently chosen by School Library Journal (USA) for its Best Books 2013 list.

David’s book Snark, Being a true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock…..and its tragic aftermath won both the Russell Clark Award for Illustration and the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award at the 2017 New Zealand Awards for Children and Young Adults. It was also awarded a White Raven by the International Youth Library in Munich and is New Zealand’s nomination for illustration in the 2018 IBBY Honour List.

Since 2008, the Ashburton Art Gallery has been curating and regularly exhibiting David’s work. His illustrations can also be viewed online: www.davidelliot.org

David lives in Port Chalmers, near Dunedin, with his wife Gillian, and Molly the dog. He has two adult daughters, Mhairi and Jess.


Praise for The Moon And Farmer McPhee

“The combination of Margaret Mahy’s words and David Elliot’s pictures was always a dream-team event. The Moon and Farmer McPhee (2010) was the last book the talented duo created and it is splendid to see the award-winning picture book has been re-issued as a (sturdy) paperback, ready to introduce a new generation of readers to its surprises. Poor Farmer McPhee, tired and irritable after a hard day’s work, can’t enjoy the beauty of the Moon, ‘‘curved like a peeling from a silver apple’’. His farm animals do appreciate it; they sing and dance in the moonlight. (Only David Elliot could draw a sheep doing handstands.) Unimpressed, the sleepy McPhee locks the animals in the barn but then something magical happens. Fold-out pages show him being captured by the silver light of the Moon. Clever arrangements of folds and windows conceal secrets and add to the fun.”

Trevor Agnew, Weekend Press

“Farmer McPhee is so caught up in his work he can't see what's right in front of him — a moon so round it looks as if "moon mice have nibbled a hole in the sky and light is flowing in from the other side of night". While the animals are frisking, he's trudging, until finally he figures out what's important. Wonderfully expressive illustrations from David Elliot. Ages 2 +.”

Laura Hewson, Otago Daily Times


Awards & Recognition

  • New Zealand Post Children's Book Award

    Winner • 2011 • Book of the Year

  • New Zealand Post Children's Book Award

    Winner • 2011 • Picture Book

  • Storylines Notable Picture Book Award

    Awarded • 2011 • Storylines Notable Picture Book


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