The Changeling

ISBN: 0595321801
ISBN 13: 9780595321803
By: Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Check Price Now


Children Childrens Currently Reading Fantasy Favorites Fiction Kindle To Read Ya Young Adult

Reader's Thoughts


I enjoy Snyder's stories because they handle the spaces in between so gently and lovingly. Martha and Ivy have to navigate a world of adults with rules that don't make much sense, but they find each other and spaces in between school and home - the stable, the trees - that give them a chance to be themselves, try out new selves, to imagine new worlds. The book takes them from age 7 through high school, and especially the transition between the innocence of not knowing that there are bad things in the world and the discovery of them when they touch you.


Just stumbled upon this book by accident, thank you, Goodreads! Have been trying to remember the title for the longest time! I read this several times in grade school, it fascinated me! Ivy Carson is from a, well, trashy family, but she herself is very different. She tells the mousy Martha who is her best friend that she is the daughter of the fairy queen, and has been switched with the real Ivy Carson. Ivy is a gifted but unschooled dancer, with wild black hair and capricious moods. She reminded me, in a way, of my own best friend in junior high. There is something timeless and beautiful about this book, and how Ivy and Martha change over the years. I just adored this little book, and I should find a copy for my daughter, when she's a bit older.

Shawn Thrasher

I think this book is now out of print, which is a shame. I wonder why it's not more popular? I don't think it feels stale or old fashioned (except for the covers), and it doesn't really have a slice of time sort of feel that some books from the sixties or seventies have. It pre-dates Judy Blume by a few years, but has that aura about it - kids alone in the world, against one another, surrounded by clueless or cruel or busy adults; Ivy Carson and Martha Abbott could go to school with all those awful kids in Blubber; certainly mean girl Kelly Peterson does. I wonder if its lack of popularity has to do with audience - I can't quite ever figure out for whom the book was written (kids? young adults? adults?).

Terri Jensen

This is one of my favorite books from childhood. I must've read it 20 times. Something about the characters really appealed to me. Even though I wasn't much like either character, I identified strongly with the feelings of alienation both Martha and Ivy faced. I would have liked to have both of them for my friends.

Ann aka Iftcan

I will say that I emphasised with the secondary character in this book more than the main character. I was always "the odd one" as a kid--partly because we were Navy, and moved a lot, partly because I was the "plain" child in my family and partly because I was smart and finally because I was blind as a bat until at the age of 8 my Mum finally found an eye doctor who realized it. As a result, I really LOVED this book, with its main characters NOT being the pretty, popular girls that, until this book, had been the heroines of most stories. Now there are a lot of books where the main character isn't that pretty, cheerleader type person. But when this book was published, it was totally "WOW--finally a book for others like ME."Well worth reading even if YOU are one of those pretty princess type people.


I read this book for the first time as an adult, despite knowing about it since I was a kid, and my first thought was "Why didn't I ever read this when I was in middle school?" I went through something similar as Martha, and my bully was also named Kelly. I also liked making up stories and lived in a bit of a fantasy world as a kid. I felt like this book really told a great story of what it's like to be a kid.The main story revolves around a friendship between two girls, Martha and Ivy. Martha comes from a upper middle class family, and Ivy comes from a sketchier background. Ivy has many siblings and her family is always taking up and leaving at random, usually because someone in the family has gotten into some trouble. Martha's family doesn't approve of Ivy and discourages her from spending time with Ivy.Martha ends up hanging out with Ivy in most of her spare time anyway, and they invent elaborate fantasy stories. Ivy claims to be a "changeling," which is a baby born to a magical being and is switched at birth with a human baby. Considering how unusual Ivy is compared to most everyone else Martha knows, she figures Ivy just might be telling the truth.Martha has a neighbor, Kelly, who is the most popular girl in their class and likes to give Martha a hard time. With Ivy's help, Martha is able to gain more confidence throughout the story.I would recommend this book to anyone. It may have been written for children and teenagers, but I think most people could find something to relate to in the characters. A very well-written book and completely deserving of the awards it won.


I loved this book as a preteen, and went back to see if it was as good as I remembered. It turns out to be more melancholy than I recalled, and I got a lot more of the class nuances as an adult. Partly I read it to see if my 7-year-old would enjoy it, and the verdict is: maybe when she's a preteen, but not now.

Orinthia Lee

This book is so good! I really enjoyed when reading it.The story is about a young girl who lack of confidence. Her older brother and sister are so popular, while her parents are sophisticated. But Martha feels like an ugly duckling surrounded by swans because she is overweight, buck-toothed, and shy.And the friendship between Martha and Ivy is heart warming. It's beautiful to see how their friendship can transforms Martha from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.I do think anyone who felt like an outcast will love this book.

Sarah Pierce

This, like Canary Red, is a book from childhood that I can still enjoy today. Indeed, I’m glad I own this book, because I’ll bet it’s hard to find. It tells the story of Martha and Ivy. Martha is from a wealthy, structured family, and Ivy is from that family that every town seems to have, the poor family who is often on the wrong side of the law. Ivy draws Martha out through all sorts of magical games and plays. I used to wish I were more like Ivy, but the older I get, the more I realize that I’m a Martha, and that’s totally OK.


This is the book that first introduced me to Zilpha Keatley Snyder, who was my absolute favorite author as a kid. This book is not a fantasy, but it did inspire a fantasy series, the excellent Green Sky trilogy. Marty "the mouse" becomes friends with Ivy Carson, an unusual girl from a large and notorious family, who claims to be a changeling. I really can't do the book justice, but I think anyone who's felt like an outcast, or had a life-changing friendship (or wanted one) will love this book.


As in the legends where Changelings are children of supernatural parents who are switched for human babies, Ivy is someone who does not fit into her family of drunks and jailbirds: she is an enchanting girl with a kind, energetic, and free-spirited personality. She becomes close friends with Martha, a quiet and shy girl from a much wealthier family. Both of them are outcasts in their own way, but their constant support towards each other Change them into strong and wonderful characters. A great book about friendship and growing up.

Diane Greiner

A story about growing up, with the main characters being too young girls. Even though the imagination probably holds true for many young girls, I found it hard to believe the age the author had her main characters still playing in make-believe. This story moved at a slow pace and I had to force myself to the end of the story. This would not be a story I would recommend to anyone. There are too many good stories out there to have to push yourself through a story that is just okay.


I read this book a long time ago, so this is based on distant memory. I think it captures well the common feeling of not fitting in, and being something alien. The metaphor of the changeling is used with the protagonist's friend, Ivy, but even though Ivy is different from part of her family, she is similar to her younger sister, which is made very clear at the end. And even though the main character feels out of place in her family and school, that is improving towards the end. So, we do feel estranged, but part of growing up is reconciling the differences and similarities and finding the self that we can live with. I liked it.

Kristin Soto

This book switches each chapter between the changeling's story and the human's story. I found it to be a little confusing as a reader because you would be so focused on one story and then the book would jump to a different one in the following chapter. It kind of took away from the book in my opinion because you would either forget what was going on in the previous story or you wanted to continue with one story to find out what happened next and be disappointed because you are ambushed with a whole different storyline.


A re-read. Snyder's sure hand at the wheel gives this story a ring of truth and an immediacy flavored with the not-quite-supernatural. When I read it as a kid, I identified so closely with Ivy that I fancied myself a changeling too. Reading it as an adult, I have much more insight into both Ivy and me, and I still identify with her. I want to know what happened to her, where she's dancing now. A lovely, transcendent book.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *