Walker Books Australia
Review by Greg Chapman
Lee Battersby’s Magrit is one of those tales that sweeps you away into the beauty of the macabre and leaves you with a pang of sadness in your heart.
Although it doesn’t feel like a horror story, or even a children’s story, Magrit sits on that fine line between the two, and this is where Mr Battersby’s skills as an author really shine.
To give you a taste of the story, Magrit lives in an unknown cemetery in an unknown town, with a puppet made of bones for company. Her life amongst the slow decay is going swimmingly, until she hears the cry of an infant child.
Despite her puppet’s warnings, Magrit decides to become a surrogate mother to the child and this is where the story begins to verge into questions of morality, specifically life and death, loneliness and love.
Although correlations could be drawn between Magrit and Neil Gaiman’s, The Graveyard Book, they are minor, and the story’s appeal comes from the mystery surrounding Magrit and the graveyard she lives in and her relationship with the child, Bugrat.
I was quite easily swept into this cemetery with every turn of the page (and in fact, I finished the story in one sitting). Illustrator Amy Daoud’s quaint illustrations also added to the text perfectly.
Magrit has plenty of soul, sadness, despair, and hope. It’s a delightfully dark fairy tale, full of Battersby’s whimsy and charm. Most of all, it’s got the makings of a classic.
Highly recommended for all ages, Magrit will go on sale from Walker Books Australia in March.