This book is truly terrific. I love most of Margaret Mahy's books dearly, including this one, and this is the only one I've read that is clearly "Children's" and not "YA". Of wonderful magical Children's books such as the Green Knowe series, Grimbold's Other World, E. Nesbit's works, and The Ordinary Princess, this is one of the few set in a fairly recent time and ordinary (seemingly) family. It is not diminished as great kids' fantasy by a setting far less dated and remote than, say, that of the Dark is Rising series, or Alan Garner's books. After reading many of these works and growing up a bit, a young person could go on to read Aliens in the Family, The Changeover, and The Tricksters, these three in my opinion the best of her YA fantasies. Get your favorite youngun started now with this book or read it and get hooked yourself on Margaret Mahy!