The Moorchild

The Moorchild

4.5 26
by Eloise McGraw

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This enchanting Newbery Honor Book is a “magical find” (School Library Journal).

Half moorfolk and half human, and unable to shape-shift or disappear at will, Moql threatens the safety of the Band. So the Folk banish her and send her to live among humans as a changeling. Named Saaski by the couple for whose real baby she was


This enchanting Newbery Honor Book is a “magical find” (School Library Journal).

Half moorfolk and half human, and unable to shape-shift or disappear at will, Moql threatens the safety of the Band. So the Folk banish her and send her to live among humans as a changeling. Named Saaski by the couple for whose real baby she was swapped, she grows up taunted and feared by the villagers for being different, and is comfortable only on the moor, playing strange music on her bagpipes.

As Saaski grows up, memories from her forgotten past with the Folks slowly emerge. But so do emotions from her human side, and she begins to realize the terrible wrong the Folk have done to the humans she calls Da and Mumma. She is determined to restore their child to them, even if it means a dangerous return to the world that has already rejected her once.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A girl who is half-fairy and half-human must come to terms with her origins in this fantasy tale, a Newbery Honor book. "Transcending genre, these themes will likely resonate with a wide audience," said PW. Ages 9-12. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Saaski is an unusual child, with dark skin and wild, light hair like the tuft of a thistle. The other children jeer at her, calling her "freaky-odd." Her grandmother, Old Bess, is the first to realize that she is a changeling, left by the Moorfolk in exchange for a human child stolen from its cradle. Eventually, Saaski comes to understand that she doesn't belong, either in the human world or in the Mound inhabited by the Folk. With the help of Tam, an orphan boy, she decides to set things right. An inventive tale with an evocative setting, the story clearly conveys the pain of being an outcast, on the fringes of accepted society.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This well-written novel incorporates elements of folklore into an examination of society's response to those who are perceived as different. The plot centers on the experiences of Saaski, a changeling who was cast out by the "Folk" because of her human father. While she does not initially recall her past life, persecution by the villagers eventually rekindles her memories and fires her resolve to rescue the human child for whom she was exchanged. Aided in her quest by Tam, an orphan who accepts her oddness and cherishes her friendship, Saaski is ultimately successful and thus repays the kindness of her "foster" family by returning their daughter to them. Some readers may find Saaski's cruel treatment by the villagers upsetting and her future with Tam unsettlingly vague, but both are consistent with McGraw's clear intention of using her novel to expose peoples' prejudices and emphasize the importance of being true to oneself. While this unusual blend of fantasy and contemporary concerns may not find a wide audience, the quality of McGraw's writing ensures that for those, like Tam, who can appreciate the unusual, The Moorchild will truly be a magical find.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Carolyn Phelan
Half-fairy and half-human, Moql grew up with the fairy folk and learned their ways until they discovered that she couldn't "wink out" (disappear at will), making her a danger to the folk. Changing her into a baby, they switched her with a human infant. Now named Saaski, she grows up again, a changeling who endures the taunts and teasing and eventually the danger of being different in a village that hates and fears her strangeness. Detailing Saaski's struggles with her nature, her memories, and the ties that bind her to both worlds, McGraw creates an unusual and absorbing story. Rooted in legend, the story features fantasy elements that are convincing, partly because nothing here is solved by magic, but by hard-won understanding of uncomfortable truths, understanding that leads to courageous action. With its convincing medieval setting and characters, this engrossing novel will be an excellent choice to read aloud, beginning with its dedication: "To all children who have ever felt "different"."
Kirkus Reviews
Moql's father is human and her mother one of the Moorfolk, who live beneath the moor. Moql belongs to neither world, but her human blood, which prevents her from changing shape or disappearing at will, makes her dangerous to the Folk. An exchange is made; they have a human child to train as a slave and Moql becomes Saaski, a village child unaware of her origins. As a changeling in the human world, Saaski is regarded as a freak. The concepts of hate and love initially elude her—the Folk are essentially amoral—but she learns about one at the hands of vigilantes and about the other when she makes peace with herself and returns her new mother's love with the perfect gift.

A complex and finely drawn character, Saaski undergoes a gradual awakening to her true nature that readers will find intriguing and poignant. McGraw (Tangled Webb, 1993, etc.) makes of Saaski's struggles an emotionally satisfying story; the moor, where Saaski's two lives intersect, is an especially evocative setting.

From the Publisher
"A magical find."

School Library Journal, starred review

"An unusual and absorbing excellent choice to read aloud."

Booklist, starred review

Product Details

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
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Sales rank:
940L (what's this?)
File size:
432 KB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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The Moorchild 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of me and my sister's favorite books. The Moorchild was one of the first books I ever read that introduced me to fantasy like this, and I fell in love with it. It is well written, and it gives you a sense that you are in the book. It gave me glimpses into a beautiful world, and I thank the author for that chance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Moorchild is one of my favorite books for a variety of reasons. One thing I loved about the book was Saaski's willingness to help another, although no one would help her. In the end of the book, Saaski doesn't care about her needs or wants, but about what would make her mother happy. Saaski knows that she is not the little girl that her mother wanted, and Saaski stops at nothing to get that other little girl back. This is a classic example of self sacrifice. Saaski could have just up and left her mother and father but she choose to replace what they had lost: a normal little girl who loved them and who they loved back. But all along there was something Saaski didn't realize. She didn't realize that her parents loved her. Although Saaski was not what they expected, her parents always loved her. And by bringing back their other child, Saaski showed how much she loved mother and father in return.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Moorchild, by Eloise McGraw is a very intense story about a little girl who doesnt quite fit in anywhere. This story is so engaging not only because of Saaski, but also because Ms. McGraw has entwined Scottish folklore into it. The cultural backround combined with the fantasy makes this one of the most enriching books I've ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I read it for the first time a few years ago and have read it many times since! I love the fact that someone has finally realized that the Changling herself might have an opinion on the matter of being 'changed', and that she doesn't have to be evil! This is a must read for anyone who likes fantasy. Or, as the author puts it so terrifically, 'To anyone who ever felt different.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is sweet and it is about a child who isn't quite a Moorfolk and isn't quite a human. I'd say its only two flaws are these: #1. The begining us slightly confusing and #2. The end is bittersweet and I longed to know what happned to Saaski and if "Mumma" and "Da" ever missed her since the end is sort of abrupt. But this is still a great book and reccommend it to any fantasy lover out there.
book4children More than 1 year ago
The Moorchild was one of my favorite books when I was younger. It is a beautifully told story about a young girl that doesn't fit in anywhere. The Folk people give her up because she is half human, and the humans are suspicious of her because she is different. The villagers' dislike of Moql (Saaski) becomes stronger as the story progresses and as she learns more about where she came from. I think that most children can relate to Saaski. At some point in almost everyone's life, they feel left out, excluded, or different from everyone else. Saaski is a fantastic heroine. She is complex, intelligent and brave. She develops a wonderful sense of self-awareness throughout the book, and comes to love herself for who she is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
digbooks More than 1 year ago
this book is a very gental slow paced book. For me it was calming to read. I thought it was very well writen as well. I definetly enjoyed the book alot. Its not the coolest book in the world to most people, but my I loved it myself.
Fern_Green More than 1 year ago
I found this gem in a resale shop, and loved it. It is a great book for those who have the sense of wonder as a child does. It is a book about being different from all others and wondering where one truly belongs, yet making the best of it. A good book for young readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My english teacher assignedd us to read this book. I find it very confusing to read but yet brings up good vocab. Its ok if you like a challenge. For me I hate challnges. So guess what I dislike this book! Read my review on the last olympian by Rick Riordan(great at writing books one of my fav authors!!) THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Moorchild is one of the few books which I have read that have not had the ending you think it will. But don't let that chase you away, because it is a wonderfully written book about the idea of accepting yourself as you are even if you live in a world you aren't truly a part of. The ending is different, but you know it is how it should be. Read it and you won't regret it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book so much! It took me forever to get started on it though, since, for me, the beginning is kind of confusing. I definitly recommend this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Moorchild takes place in the Scottish Moor. Saaski the main character of the book is a changeling who has been outcast by the Folk community, because she is half human and half Folk. She is preceived by everyone as being different and she has to cope with physical pain and torment throughout the novel. Saaski will take you on an adventure through self discovery and her many experiences at trying to fit in along with bringing her human mother the gift she wants. The book will encourage readers to learn that it is good to be accepting of those who are different. The storyline has many magical elements to it such as; medieval folk, elves, and invented vocabulary. The magic will make the reader curious with excitement and not want to put the book down. The Moorchild can be meaningful to anyone who reads it including those who are different and those who have not yet learned to be accepting. Students in grades four through six will find this book enjoyable especially if you are one of those people who feels different and unaccepted. Teachers may want to use this book in a literature circle or for students to use as a personal book report. The Moorchild is a wonderful story that will capture the audience and make the reader appreciate the unusual.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I have read it twice, my father read and loved it, and I got my sister reading it. I could really relate to Moql'nkkn, being an outsider myself. This book really made me feel good, knowing that I'm not the only one with 'social problems' and Saaski was a perfect example of a kid who just doesn't fit in, and her story is mingled with ancient folk tales from the Celtic people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book i read by Eloise McGraw and I thought it was great!!!!!! Worth reading if you injoy fansteys!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my very favorite books! I recommend it for kids 10-14
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love books, more than anything else in the world. I've read most of the books in my local library, but not very many of the children's section. So one day, when I was wandering around the Elementary part of the library, I discovered this book and immediately fell in love with it! It is outstanding! If I were in charge, I'd place it on a shelf that any reader of any age could go to. This book is good for children to read, but is good for those of us in the older generation to read as well. It leads your mind to places never explored, and gives it new ideas to 'digest'. It introduces you to the folk, who are not written much about these days. If you don't know them already, read this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Moor Child is a book for children ages 9-12 it is about a changeling which is a creature that is half pixie half human. She is swiched with a black smiths daughter.Her ma's ma Old Bess has her suspicions about the child and she is right. Saaski the changeling meets a boy named Tam and they become friends. All the kids in her village make fun of her they call her 'freaky-odd'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. Really really great!! I'm still talking about it a week after getting it out of the library. I am hoping a sequel will be coming out soon, and if not, I'm writing one myself! I highly recommend it...and for anyone who feels it hit a little closer to home, please check out 'Otherkin' in any search engine. A really fantastic, well-written book with a few surprises, leaving more at the end...just WHAT is Tam anyway? ^_^
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was kind of slow or maybe it was just me.When i started to read the first page of this book, i just got hooked and then it got boring again but then it got interesting again.I recommend this book to people ages 9-11.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty good, it took quite a while to read but that might have been just me. It was a unique and interesting story. I recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would just to say how much I love this book. I read it a few years ago over the summer, and it stuck with me all this time. It is a very good book, and an intriguing story. Buy it, and read
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, I think everyone, old and young, should read it. It goes outside the lines and it's wonderful. READ THIS BOOK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book because it was about folk/ fairies, etc. It was also based in a different time period, was very realistic ( in a fairy tale way), and was a real page turner; I was surprised to have finished this book in afew hours! I recommend being 12+ before reading, just because some of the names, words, etc. are hard to understand.