Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - Personal

Margaret Mayo (1935–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

review england london illustrated

Born 1935, in London, England; Education: University of Southampton, B.Sc. (with honors), 1956, certificate in education, 1957.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Orchard Books, Hachette Children's Books, 338 Euston Rd., London NW1 3BH, England.

Career

Writer, 1974–. Teacher at numerous schools in England, 1957–61, 1969–71, 1973–75, and 1975–80.

Honors Awards

Aesop Accolade, Children's Folklore Society/American Folklore Society, 1996, for When the World Was Young: Creation and Pourquois Tales.

Writings

(Compiler) If You Should Meet a Crocodile, and Other Verse, illustrated by Carol Barker, Kaye & Ward (London, England), 1974.

(Reteller) The Book of Magical Horses, illustrated by Victor Ambrus, Kaye & Ward (London, England), 1976, Hastings House (New York, NY), 1977.

(Reteller) The Book of Magical Birds, illustrated by Fiona French, Kaye & Ward (London, England), 1977.

(Reteller) The Book of Magical Cats, illustrated by Victor Ambrus, Kaye & Ward (London, England), 1978.

Saints, Birds, and Beasts, illustrated by Cara Lockhart Smith, Kaye & Ward (London, England), 1980.

The Italian Fairy Book, illustrated by Cara Lockhart Smith, Kaye & Ward (London, England), 1981.

Fairy Tales from France, illustrated by Cara Lockhart Smith, Kaye & Ward (London, England), 1983.

Little Mouse Twitchy Whiskers, illustrated by Penny Dann, Orchard (London, England), 1992.

(Reteller) The Orchard Book of Magical Tales, illustrated by Jane Ray, Orchard (London, England), 1993, published as Magical Tales from Many Lands, Dutton (New York, NY), 1993.

(Reteller) How to Count Crocodiles, illustrated by Emily Bolam, Orion (London, England), 1994, published as Tortoise's Flying Lesson: Animal Stories, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1995.

(Reteller) First Fairy Tales, illustrated by Selina Young, Orchard (London, England), 1994, Barnes and Noble Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(Reteller) The Orchard Book of Creation Stories, illustrated by Louise Brierley, Orchard (London, England), 1995, published as When the World Was Young: Creation and Pourquois Tales, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

(Reteller) How the Earth Was Made; Why People Shouldn't Be So Greedy, illustrated by Tony Ross, Orchard (London, England), 1998.

(Reteller) How Men and Women Were Mad: Why People Do Not Live Forever; Why the Sun Travels Slowly, illustrated by Tony Ross, Orchard (London, England), 1998.

(Reteller) The Orchard Book of Mythical Birds and Beasts, illustrated by Jane Ray, Orchard (London, England), 1996, published as Mythical Birds and Beasts from Many Lands, Dutton (New York, NY), 1997, published as The Orchard Book of the Unicorn and Other Magical Animals, illustrated by Jane Ray, Orchard (London, England), 2001.

(Reteller) How the Sun Was Made; Why the Moon Appears at Night; How People Were Given Fire, illustrated by Tony Ross, Orchard (London, England), 1998.

(Reteller) First Bible Stories, illustrated by Nicola Smee, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 1998.

(Reteller) Why the Sea Is Salt; Why People Come in Different Colors, illustrated by Tony Ross, Orchard (London, England), 1998.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon: The Story of St. Francis, illustrated by Peter Malone, Orion (London, England), 1999, Little Brown (Boston, MA), 2000.

Sleepytime Stories, illustrated by Penny Dann, Orchard (London, England), 1999.

Plum Pudding, Orchard (London, England), 2000, published as Wiggle Waggle Fun: Stories and Rhymes for the Very, Very Young, Knopf (New York, NY), 2002, published as The Orchard Book of Favourite Stories and Poems, 2003.

Hoddley Poddley, 2001, published as The Orchard Book of Favourite Rhymes and Verse, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

Dig Dig Digging, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe, Orchard (London, England), 2001, Holt (New York, NY), 2002.

(Reteller) Cinderella, illustrated by Philip Norman, Orchard (London, England), 2002.

(Reteller) Hansel and Gretel, illustrated by Philip Norman, Orchard (London, England), 2002.

(Reteller) Sleeping Beauty, illustrated by Philip Norman, Orchard (London, England), 2002.

(Reteller) Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, illustrated by Philip Norman, Orchard (London, England), 2002.

(Reteller) Jack and the Beanstalk, illustrated by Philip Norman, Orchard (London, England), 2002.

Emergency!, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

(Reteller) Rumplestiltskin, illustrated by Philip Norman, Orchard (London, England), 2002.

(Reteller) Unanana and the Enormous Elephant; and, The Feathered Snake, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

(Reteller) The Incredible Thunderbird; and, Baba Yaga Bony-legs, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

(Reteller) The Giant Sea Serpent; and, The Unicorn, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

(Reteller) The Fiery Phoenix; and, The Lemon Princess, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

(Reteller) The Man-eating Minotaur; and, The Magic Fruit, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

(Reteller) The Magical Mermaid; and, Kate Crackernuts, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

(Reteller) The Daring Dragon; and, The Kingdom under the Sea, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

(Reteller) Pegasus the Proud Prince; and, The Flying Carpet, illustrated by Peter Bailey, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

Choo Choo Clickety-Clack!, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe, Orchard (London, England), 2004, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Sidelights

Margaret Mayo is a reteller of fairy tales and the author of picture books for very young readers. Mayo's work is distinguished by her careful selection of little-known but delightful tales from around the world, by her talent for engaging narration, and by her passion for her work. As she once told SATA, she hopes to preserve the oral storytelling tradition as well as unique stories worthy of being passed down to new generations. Mayo selects "stories that have passed the most difficult of tests—the test of time," as she explained; tales that "can still entertain and satisfy emotionally like no others. They are a precious part of our common heritage, and if our children are also to share it, then the tales must be told afresh to them."

Mayo began her career as a writer in the mid-1970s with If You Should Meet a Crocodile, and Other Verse, a collection of short rhymes, poems, and limericks penned by both famous and anonymous poets. Her first book for older readers contains thirteen fairytales about horses. The Book of Magical Horses tells of an enchanted mule, a winged horse, and even a water horse. A reviewer for Junior Bookshelf described the stories as "typically vigorous and full of action," and a Booklist contributor wrote that they are "told in an assured, conventional style." Mayo has also assembled similar collections featuring magical birds and cats.

Magical Tales from Many Lands, which includes fourteen folktales and comes complete with endnotes citing origins and sources, focuses on the magic that works wonders for people around the world, from Arabians and Australians to Zulus. There is a story about a king from the Caribbean, a Baba Yaga tale from Russia, a Native American tale about the morning star, a story from Peru, and a tale from China. "The stories read aloud well," observed Carolyn Phelan in a Booklist review. A critic for Kirkus Reviews described the collection as "remarkably felicitous" and added: "Mayo has chosen splendidly." A Publishers Weekly contributor cited the volume's "lively vocabulary" and "fine sense of theater," and dubbed the collection "a winner" whether read story by story or all at one sitting. "Mayo's book will work its magic on all who open it," asserted Barbara Chatton in School Library Journal.

How to Count Crocodiles, like Mayo's If You Should Meet a Crocodile, and Other Verses, is a collection for young children. In the words of Magpies contributor Nola Allen, these eight stories are told with "exuberance." Containing tales drawn from the folklore of Africa, Indonesia, Japan, and other countries, the book features a monkey, an eagle, a tortoise, crocodiles, rabbits, elephants, a hippopotamus, bears, a lion, and other animals and as a Junior Bookshelf critic noted, casts these creatures in "many amusing incidents, animal noises, tricks and games." The collection—published in the United States as Tortoise's Flying Lesson: Animal Stories—"brims with both vigor and cheer," wrote a contributor to Publishers Weekly. "What an engaging collection!" exclaimed Harriett Fargnoli in a School Library Journal review.

When the World Was Young: Creation and Pourquois Tales provides ten retold tales which explain some familiar aspect of life on Earth. Like Mayo's other collections, the focus here is multicultural: A Native-American story explains how fire gets in trees, a Polynesian story centers on the sun, a tale from Ghana discusses human skin color, a tale from Iceland explains why salt is in the sea, and a story from Egypt tells how the moon came to the sky. The work comes with a foreword and source notes. According to Susan Hepler in a School Library Journal review, in When the World Was Young Mayo speaks to her audience and offers "connections for today's youngsters." A Publishers Weekly reviewer described the retellings as "lively" and "suspenseful" and called Mayo a "masterful" storyteller.

Mythical Birds and Beasts from Many Lands provides ten tales of fantastic creatures from dragons to unicorns. A Thunderbird from Native-American folklore and an ancient Aztec Quetzalcoatl are featured along-side mermaids, serpents, and other creatures from Greek mythology. Once again, Mayo's storytelling talents were praised by critics. "Mayo lends the oral cadence of a storyteller's voice to these tales of enchantment," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor, while in Publishers Weekly a critic stated that "Mayo's energetically paced versions possess a lively intensity that never fails to entertain."

In Brother Sun, Sister Moon: The Life and Stories of St. Francis Mayo combines the true history and biography of St. Francis with myths about the saint's life, drawing a distinction between life and legend. After recounting the saint's life, Mayo explains what happened after his death, including information regarding his canonization and the formation of the Franciscan Order. The book concludes with "The Canticle of Brother Sun," a poem written by St. Francis. "By the time readers find St. Francis's own 'Canticle of Brother Sun,'… they'll know how to appreciate it," commented a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Wendy Lukehart, writing in School Library Journal, considered the picture book "a highly readable and aesthetically appealing portrait." Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan called Brother Sun, Sister Moon a "most beautiful portrayal," adding that it is "written with simplicity and grace."

Wiggle Waggle Fun: Stories and Rhymes for the Very Very Young is a collection of thirty-four stories, poems, and songs, some as short as four lines and others long enough for bedtime reading. Included among the stories are counting exercises, original stories, and retellings of traditional tales. The collection is "an ideal showcase for twenty-four illustrators," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer, while Melinda Piehler pointed out in School Library Journal that some of the illustrators, including Jane Ray, Tony Ross, and Lauren Child, are well known to young readers, while others may be encountered for the first time. Piehler noted that "children will likely want to turn again and again to their favorite sections." A Kirkus Reviews contributor stated that, of all the stories and poems included, there is "not a bad one in the bunch," and Gillian Engberg noted in Booklist that Mayo's selections "reverberate with noise-making nonsense and giggly fun [in] language just right for the very young." Christian Parenting Today contributor Carla Barnhill predicted that the book's "poems and songs will provide hours of cuddle time."

Mayo has collaborated with artist Alex Ayliffe on a series of picture books about vehicles, starting with Dig Dig Digging. Featuring construction trucks, rescue helicopters, and nine other work vehicles, the book explains the purpose of each vehicle and includes the noises and actions each makes as it does its job. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews noted the pairing of "simple rhymes and bold illustrations," while a Publishers Weekly contributor cited Mayo's use of "plenty of colorful adjectives and terse verbs." Alice Casey Smith, writing in School Library Journal, viewed the text as "visual word poems about large trucks, tractors, and cranes," and Booklist critic Hazel Rochman deemed Dig Dig Digging "a bright, noisy book to connect words and pictures with the excitement of the building site and the vroom of the streets."

Mayo and Ayliffe's second collaboration, Emergency!, focuses on fire trucks, ambulances, life boats, and snow plows. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that "Children will practically hear the sirens wail" as they read and follow the pictures from one emergency to the next. "Eager listeners … will want to revisit the scenes," commented Lisa Dennis in her review for School Library Journal. Another title in the series, Choo Choo Clickety-Clack!, also focuses on the noises made by vehicles such as airplanes, race cars, and trains. Commenting on the love toddlers have for motion, Ilene Cooper wrote in Booklist that Choo Choo Clickety-Clack! "brilliantly captures that rush in raucous words and eye-popping art." Julie Roach, writing for School Library Journal, considered the book "a surefire selection" where "toddlers and preschoolers go 'Zippity-zip' or 'RoarrrRR!'," while a Kirkus Reviews contributor cited Mayo's "snappy text," which "abounds with verbs to savor."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Biography, winter, 2001, Kevin Kelly, review of Brother Sun, Sister Moon: The Life and Stories of St. Francis, p. 326.

Booklist, November 15, 1977, review of The Book of Magical Horses, p. 552; November 1, 1993, Carolyn Phelan, review of Magical Tales from Many Lands, p. 517; September 1, 1996, pp. 122-123; March 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, p. 1242; October 1, 2000, Ilene Cooper, review of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, p. 358; February 1, 2002, review of Wiggle Waggle Fun: Stories and Rhymes for the Very Young, p. 942; May 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Dig Dig Digging, p. 1598; August, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of Emergency!, p. 1974; February 15, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Choo Choo Clickety-Clack!, p. 1079.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2000, review of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, p. 250.

Christian Parenting Today, March, 2002, Carla Barnhill, review of Wiggle Waggle Fun, p. 50.

Commonweal, November 20, 1998, review of First Bible Stories, p. 23.

Growing Point, April, 1975, review of If You Should Meet a Crocodile, and Other Verse, p. 2605; November, 1977, p. 3203.

Horn Book, January-February, 1994, pp. 77-78; May, 2000, Mary M. Burns, review of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, p. 336.

Junior Bookshelf, August, 1976, review of The Book of Magical Horses, p. 207; December, 1978, p. 302; February, 1981, review of Saints, Birds, and Beasts, p. 23; June, 1995, review of How to Count Crocodiles, p. 101.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1993, review of Magical Tales from Many Lands, p. 1148; May 1, 1997, review of Mythical Birds and Beasts from Many Lands, p. 725; December 1, 2001, review of Wiggle Waggle Fun, p. 1687; April 15, 2002, review of Dig Dig Digging, p. 574; August 15, 2002, review of Emergency!, p. 1229; March 15, 2002, review of Choo Choo Clickety-Clack!, p. 354.

Magpies, May, 1995, Nola Allen, review of How to Count Crocodiles, p. 29.

Publishers Weekly, September 6, 1993, review of Magical Tales from Many Lands, p. 91; May 1, 1995, review of Tortoise's Flying Lesson: Animal Stories, pp. 58-59; October 21, 1996, review of When the World Was Young, p. 85; April 14, 1997, review of Mythical Birds and Beasts from Many Lands, p. 73; March 13, 2000, review of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, p. 82; December 10, 2001, review of Wiggle Waggle Fun, p. 68; April 8, 2002, review of Dig Dig Digging, p. 225; August 5, 2002, review of Emergency!, p. 71.

School Library Journal, May, 1993, p. 57; September, 1993, Barbara Chatton, review of Magical Tales from Many Lands, p. 226; May, 1995, Harriett Fargnoli, review of Tortoise's Flying Lesson: Animal Stories, p. 101; December, 1996, Susan Helper, review of When the World Was Young, p. 116; April, 2000, Wendy Lukehart, review of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, p. 123; January, 2002, Melinda Piehler, review of Wiggle Waggle Fun, p. 121; May, 2002, Alice Casey Smith, review of Dig Dig Digging, p. 141; October, 2002, Lisa Dennis, review of Emergency!, p. 120; May, 2005, Julie Roach, review of Choo Choo Clickety-Clack!, p. 92.

Times Educational Supplement, September 30, 1983, p. 48.

Gretchen Will Mayo (1936-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights [next] [back] James (John) Mayhew (1964-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or