The Changeling

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

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Reader's Thoughts


This was my favorite book as a girl! I read it over and over and over! I found it a few years ago hidden in a box of old things. The cover was falling off, the binding was disintegrating, but I put it in a plastic bag to keep forever, until I have a daughter of my own to pass it along to. Great book for 12-14 year olds!

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.


This sounds like a sci-fi book, but it's not. This is a classic. It's a truly beautiful book that all ages will appreciate.


My Brother in law bought me the first book of Zilpha's Green Sky Trilogy and I have become quite a fan of this author. I'm so glad that the author's guild brought these little treasures back into print.The Changeling reminded me very much of Bridge to Terabithia in that there is two children from different backgrounds creating their own world and changing and growing because of it. Martha and Ivy are such well created characters that many readers could identify with some part or another of either of them. As an added bonus (for me since I enjoyed the place), one of the main places Martha and Ivy create is Green Sky, a little similar to the Green Sky trilogy, but also very different.The most amazing thing to me about this book is that somehow Zilpha made it timeless. It was written in 1970 and what happens to children growing up are still happening and she manages to put the story together without placing anything in it that would give it a timeline, so that it could have happened today, ten years ago, or ten years in the future.Now if you are looking for a book with fantastical creatures that might not exist because no one has ever seen them before, then this is not your book. Don't let the name make you think it's about shape shifting or something similar. It is only filled with the magic of imagination.

Alissa Bach

A sophomore in high school, the pretty and popular Martha Abbott is worlds different from who she used to be: A shy, chubby outcast known to her family as Marty Mouse, a little girl who cried often and who used books and daydreams to escape from the reality of the world around her. Back then, the only person who truly understood Martha was Ivy Carson, the second-youngest daughter of a large, low-income family from the other side of town. The Carsons have earned themselves quite a bad reputation (Mrs. Carson is an alcoholic, Mr. Carson is a debtor, and several of the older carson children have been busted for various criminal activities), but Ivy is different. Even though Martha's upper-class family doesn't exactly approve, Martha and Ivy become friends...and this friendship is the only thing that gets Martha through those difficult growing-up years. Then comes the day Ivy and her family vanishes without warning, without a trace. But her friendship with Ivy strengthened Martha more than she knew and she is able to finally crawl out of her mousehole, put aside the daydreams that once consumed her, and live in the real world. She has learned to live without Ivy in her life.But now, when Martha is a sophomore, she gets word that the Carson family has returned to the area...and Martha is worried: Now that she's so different (both inwardly and outwardly) than she was last time she and Ivy talked, can the two girls still be friends? Is there even a place for Ivy in Martha's life now?


The Changeling was first published in 1970, but I didn't realize this until after I had finished reading, which I did in one sitting. Obviously, the book has held up over time! What a charming story of friendship, small towns, imagination and self-discovery. It reminded of Snyder's own Egypt Game and of Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth by Konigsburg. A wonderful story of two outsider girls who find friendship and explore a magical world of imagination. Great stuff.


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.


I read this book for the first time when I was probably ten years old, ironically long before I picked up Bridge to Terabithia. Now years later after having read and loved both, it's genuinely difficult to say which is my favorite of the two.Both books deal with a certain number of similar themes: an "ordinary" child whose life is transformed by an imaginative friend who opens their mind to a world of possibilities, then those friends are parted. The difference is that Ivy comes and goes from Martha's life over a number of years instead of the tragic brevity of Jess and Leslie's friendship. So, while both books have a sadness to them, The Changeling is more a quietly mournful tale about growing up, losing--and trying to reclaim--the immediacy of the dreams of childhood in the face of adulthood's harsh realities. Whereas Bridge to Terabithia delivers a much quicker, sharper blow (to try to put it in a way that won't spoil either book too badly).I think part of the reason it's so hard for me to choose between them is that my own growing up years delivered blows of both kinds, so both books resonate on a very personal level with me. But I would definitely recommend The Changeling to anyone who did love Bridge to Terabithia, either as a child or an adult.

Sherwood Smith

read this just out of my teens, and loved it to pieces. My paperback is falling apart, alas, so I have not reread it for some twenty years. So I don't know how it holds up to my adult view, but the friendship, the approach to being different and creativity were impressive to me when young.


This, along with The Egypt Game, is one my favorite Zilpha Keatley Snyder books. It's just a beautiful story about the changing friendship between two girls--Martha, who is painfully shy, and Ivy, the unique child of a nomadic family. This book made me want to stay age 11 forever, just to experience the freedom of childhood that these girls did.


Ivy Carson belonged to the notorious Carson family, which lived in a run-down house in suburban Rosewood. But Ivy was not a typical Carson. There was something wonderful about her. Ivy explained it by saying that she was a changeling, a child of supernatural parents who had been exchanged for the real Ivy Carson at birth. (excerpted from Amazon)


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.


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.

Jay Mark Saga-ad

"I've read this book a long time ago but the adventures of the young characters is still so fresh to me, it reminded me of my childhood ventures and hmmm, I wish I could go back into those places."The ChangelingZilpha Keatley Snyder made me a kid once again.

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?).

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