The Changeling

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

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Reader's Thoughts


This is my favorite book ever! I just started a book blog about YA books ( and my second post was dedicated to Zilpha Keatley Snyder, especially this book. I keep buying copies to give away. I first read it when I was in third grade, but now I return to it often. It still makes me smile and sometimes, I must confess, it still gets me teary.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


The Changeling was originally published in 1970 and republished in Dec. of 2012. When my children were young, we read Snyder's The Egypt Game, which remains one of my favorite juvenile books. The Changeling won a Newbery Honor Book Award, the Christopher Medal, and was named an outstanding book for young people by the Junior Library Guild.This is a YA novel about growing up, friendship, imagination, and trust. When seven-year-old Martha Abbot, a little overweight and shy, meets Ivy Carson, a friendship blossoms that saves both girls from their very different outcast states. Ivy's family has a terrible reputation (drinking, vandalism, debt), and regardless of how different Ivy is--she is labeled a Carson. Martha, who doesn't fit in with her accomplished family (or anywhere else) finds the perfect companion in Ivy to help her brave the world. In self-defense, Ivy has decided that she is a changeling, and Martha has no real difficulty excepting this fact. For the next eight years, the Carson's move in and out of Martha's life, as they pack up and leave for a year or two (escaping whatever trouble they've gotten themselves into) and then return. Although a hint of the darkness of Ivy's home life hangs in the air, the girls' friendship keeps both girls a bit removed from the fray of everyday life...until an act of vandalism leaves Ivy and Martha accused of the crime.I loved this book. Highly recommended.Net Galley/Open Road Young Readers.YA. 1970 and 2012. Print version 226 pages. ISBN-10: 0595321801


Excerpts from my Postcards from La-La Land combo review of Snyder's The Changeling and Janet Taylor Lisle's Afternoon of the Elves:. . . . .Back when I wrote my first Nostalgic Review, I mentioned that Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Changeling had a similar story line [as Janet Taylor Lisle's Afternoon of the Elves]. I used to think Snyder’s story was a re-interpretation of Lisle’s, but in fact it’s the other way around, since The Changeling was published in 1970. Not that Lisle was necessarily conscious of the similarities — she describes her inspiration coming from an actual little village a neighbor’s daughter made in her yard — but just reading the jacket summary set the wild echoes flying* for me.…. I like that neither story tells you absolutely, definitively whether the hints of magic are real or imagined, whether Ivy and Sara-Kate are truly who they say they are, whether these books can be considered fantasies or not. The reader has to decide for her- or himself.The biggest difference between the two stories is the final tone. Afternoon of the Elves feels much more bittersweet, whereas The Changeling has a more hopeful feeling in the end. I’d forgotten that about Lisle’s story — it’s been over ten years since I last read it. The saddest thing (no spoilers, I promise) is how people talk about Sara-Kate, how they blame her both for being too strong and for being too vulnerable. She’s independent, so she must be conniving and cruel. And yet how can someone so strong be such a failure in other senses? How can she not have asked for help? It’s as though they forget she’s only eleven.. . . . .* Tennyson, "The Splendor Falls"


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.

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