Geraldine McCaughrean

Geraldine McCaughrean was born in London and at first intended to become a teacher. Instead she began writing after taking a job in a major publishing company. In 1987 A Little Lower than the Angels won the Whitbread Children's Novel Award. A Pack of Lies received the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Award in 1988, and in 1994, Gold Dust was the winner of the Beefeater Children's Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Smarties Book Prize.

Geraldine McCaughrean books reviewed


  • A Little Lower Than the Angels (1987)
    Gabriel has no idea what the future will hold when he runs away from his apprenticeship with the bad-tempered stonemason. But God Himself, in the shape of playmaster Garvey, has plans for him. He wants Gabriel for his angel... But will Gabriel's new life with the travelling players be any more secure? In a world of illusion, people are not always what they seem. Least of all Gabriel.
  • A Pack of Lies (1988)
    Ailsa doesn't trust MCC Berkshire, the mysterious man helping out in her mother's antique shop. He tells wonderful stories about all the antiques, and his stories persuade the customers to buy the items he talks about, but everything he says is a pack of lies, isn't it? The story of Ailsa and MCC is interwoven with the stories MCC tells the customers, which range from romances to adventure stories; from crime dramas to pirate stories; from stories set in modern-day Ireland to stories set in ancient China.
    Gold Dust (1993)
  • On the Day the World Began (1995)
  • Quest of Isis (1995)
  • Cowboy Jess (1996)
    Yee-hah! Ride 'em out, with cowboy-in-training Jess Ford as he roams the frontiers of the old Wild West in search of adventure. Foiling the plans of horse rustlers, taking on stagecoach bandits, and saving the life of wild and unpredictable mare, Destiny. It's all in a day's work for Cowboy Jess.
  • Cowboy Jess Saddles Up (1996)
  • King Arthur (1996)
    Who pulls the sword from out this anvil is the true and rightful King of England.
  • Plundering Paradise (1996)
    Nathan loves pirates - his days are spent dreaming about them and wondering what it would be like to be one. Anything to brighten up his grey and dreary existence. So when Tamo White, the son of a real-life pirate, suggests that Nathan go home with him to Madagascar, it is too good a chance to miss. There's just one problem . . . Nathan's sister, Maud. He can't leave her behind but will she really be able to survive in a strange land full of pirates? You never know - perhaps she'll adapt better than Nathan, or even she herself, could ever have imagined… Plundering Paradise will whisk you away to a distant land and fill your senses with amazing sights, sounds and beautiful colours. You will feel as though you've really visited Madagascar and have lived among the pirates and the islanders.
  • Forever X (1997)
    It's not the greatest start to a summer holiday. The car breaks down, miles from anywhere, and suddenly Joy and her family are stuck in the first bed-and-breakfast they can find. And it's no ordinary place. Forever X, says the sign on the house. That's strange enough. But inside, everything is even weirder - from the girl in an elf costume to the mysterious Mr Angel. And then the police arrive…
  • Casting the Gods Adrift: A Tale of Ancient Egypt (1998)
  • Too Big! (1999)
    Mum always liked to buy Neil clothes big enough for him to 'grow into'. And his new cricket jumper makes him look like a lamb in sheep's clothing! But Mum goes too far when she buys a new wardrobe and that, too, is far TOO BIG. It won't fit in the front door, it won't go through the downstairs windows. And, when Mum and Dad finally work out how to get it in the house, Neil - and his too-big cricket jumper - cause a very surprising outcome: one that Neil likes very much indeed!
  • Brave Magic (1999)
  • The Stones Are Hatching (1999)
    Phelim was the only one, they said, the only one who could save the world from the Hatchlings of the Stoor Worm. The Stoor Worm, who had been asleep for aeons, since it was vanquished by the hero, Assipattle, was beginning to waken. It was the booming of the guns, the cries of the wounded, the dreadful sounds of war that had woken it, and now its Hatchlings were abroad to terrorize the people who had forgotten all about them, forgotten all the ancient magics. But how could Phelim, who was only a boy, after all, save the world from all these dreadful monsters? And where could he find the Maiden, the Fool, and the Horse who were supposed to help him? And as Phelim leaves his home and sets out on his quest, the words of the domovoy ring in his ears: 'You are the one. To stop the Worm waking. To do what must be done.'
  • The Great Chase (2000)
  • The Kite Rider: One Boy's Haunted Journey to the Top of the Sky (2001)
    Haoyou knows that his father's spirit lives among the clouds above Ancient China. He also knows that to save his mother from being forced into a new marriage he must now follow in his father's footsteps and take to the skies, riding a kite through the clouds and the spirits of the dead. Then the Jade Circus offers him a chance to escape his enemies and travel throughout the empire, and maybe even perform before Kublai Khan himself. But is going with the circus really the best option? It could be that the circus master is leading him into even greater danger. This outstanding story is like nothing else you've ever read - packed with action, adventure and emotion.
  • Stop the Train (2001)
    It's 1893 and for Cissy and her family, a new life beckons on the prairies of Oklahoma and they and their fellow settlers prepare for steady business alongside the Red Rock Railroad track. But when they refuse to sell their land to the railroad company, the boss swears that his trains will never stop in Florence again. How will they ever make a living now? Cissy and her friends, family and neighbours vow that they will make the train stop - by whatever means are necessary, no matter how dangerous that may prove to be…
  • Six Storey House (2002)
    Six Storey House stands in its little garden like a potted palm: tall and thin and brownly dusty. Once, a single family lived there. They kept servants in the loft, where other people keep luggage, and a cook in the cellar, where other people keep wine. Now each floor has a different address: Flats 1 to 6, Six Storey House... Dexi lives on the third floor with his mother, but he knows all his neighbours very well. Each chapter follows the owners of a different flat, bringing each character beautifully to life. Gradually all the neighbours lives are woven more closely together until Dexi's final intervention, in the form of chicken-pox, sees the neighbours changing their lives - and their flats...
  • Gilgamesh the Hero (2002)
    A major publishing event - two of the UK's outstanding prize-winning artists working together for the first time The legend of Gilgamesh is the oldest written story, pre-dating both The Bible and The Iliad. An epic story about a quest for immortality, it also includes a legend of the Flood that is remarkably similar to the story of Noah.
  • Doctor Quack (2003)
    Out from the pack came a greenish bottle, full of greenish liquid. Benedick held it like a green duck egg, like a handful of precious emeralds. “This medicine,” he said, “will cure coughs and colds and collywobbles. This medicine will heal hives, hiccups and whooping cough!” Despite a magical medicine of fabulous price, Benedick’s father died of the purple plague. Now Benedick travels from town to town selling cures and potions – a dangerous business in a doubting world. His moatwater marvels seem doomed to end in disaster – until he meets a canny princess and someone he recognises...
  • Showstopper (2003)
  • The Jesse Tree (2003)
    Jesse trees (and later, stained glass windows), used in medieval times tell people Bible stories. Using her skills as a storyteller and her love of the Bible, the author has written an intriguing story about the creation of a modern-day Jesse tree. She weaves evocative retellings of selected Bible stories with a sensitive contemporary story about the transforming power of love.
  • Dog Days (2003)
    'The ice was slippery. Her paws kept splaying outwards until the cold of the ice on her belly made her tiptoe back up to her full height… Someone on the bridge threw a lump of coal at her. It skidded across the whiteness, leaving a black trail, then plopped into a fissure: the ice was breaking up.' Clay and his brother, Hal, rescue a struggling dog from the icy River Thames. But back on dry land their father refuses to take her in - the new Dog Tax means she's too expensive to keep. As skinners sharpen their knives, ready to make money from pelts just like hers, the boys determine to save her - at whatever cost…
  • Jalopy (2003)
    Jalopy is a brand new, shiny red car won in a competition by Mrs Ethel Thomas, but Mrs Thomas can't drive, so sadly she puts Jalopy up for sale. Before she can sell Jalopy, petty crooks Masher and Spud, who need a get-away car for their next bank robbery, steal the car.
  • Smile! (2004)
    When Felix's plane crashes, he finds himself in a small remote village. The only thing he has salvaged from the plane is a polaroid camera with ten remaining pictures. At first the villagers are suspicious, but they soon enter into a mission to find the ten most important subjects for the photographs. And each photo that Felix takes seems to have a magical effect.
  • Not the End of the World (2004)
    Everyone knows the story of the Flood, the men God chose to survive, the animals that went in two by two. But what about the others that sailed on the Ark - the women and the children? This adventure story asks what it was really like when the heavens opened and the world drowned - and what might have happened in the days that followed.
  • The White Darkness (2005)
    Captain Titus Oates, hero of the Antarctic, has been dead for nearly a century. But not in Sym's head. In there, he is her constant companion, her soulmate, her adviser. It is as if he walked out of the Polar blizzard and into her mind. In fact, if it were not for Titus, life might be as bleak a place as the Antarctic wilderness. When she is taken on a mystery expedition by her eccentric uncle Victor, Sym can't believe her luck. Destination Antarctica-the very place she's always wanted to visit. But Victor has other plans, more sinister than Sym could possibly imagine. Stranded in the most isolated part of the world with her trust in someone she comes to realize is a madman, she must find a way to avoid a gruesome fate. But what should a teenage girl do? Could it be that Titus, the one who perished in that very place, will be the means of her survival?
  • Peter Pan in Scarlet (2006)
    Neverland is calling again... Something is wrong in Neverland. Dreams are leaking out-strangely real dreams, of pirates and mermaids, of warpaint and crocodiles. For Wendy and the Lost Boys it is a clear signal-Peter Pan needs their help, and so it is time to do the unthinkable and fly to Neverland again. But back in Neverland, everything has changed-and the dangers they find there are far beyond their dreams…
  • Cyrano (2006)
    Cyrano de Bergerac is a flamboyant character and a skilled swordsman, not in the least afraid of drawing attention to himself in public - for he can be highly amusing, even at his own expense, with jokes about his enormous nose. But he has a weakness: he has fallen in love with his beautiful cousin Roxane, and because of his own appearance is too ashamed to declare his love. Meanwhile Roxane is besotted with a handsome, but foolish young man, Christian, in the same company of guards as Cyrano. Cyrano is devastated by this, and horrified by her request that he should protect the young man and encourage him to write her love letters. Writing letters is something Christian can't do - but Cyrano generously offers to help, even if it means breaking his own heart. Soon Cyrano pours out his feelings in the most romantic letters ever. The question is will Roxane discover the truth? And if she does will it be too late for Cyrano?
  • Mo (2006)
    When Shane is asked to follow the mystery trilling sound coming from the school corridor, he hopes that he can keep the phone that's making it. Shane has always wanted a mobile phone, but the last thing he expects is one that talks back! Mo is on the run from an alien planet and when Shane offers to mind her while she's on Earth he gets more than he'd bargained for. Mo is demanding, orders him about and won’t keep quiet - if only she had an off switch! She does have one useful talent though – Mo can tell the future...
  • Tamburlaine's Elephants (2007)
    Rusti is a Tartar, travelling and pillaging with the legendary Horde of Tamburlaine, Conqueror of the World. He dreams of honour and riches, and is proud to capture his first prisoners - an elephant and her keeper. Yet amidst the death and destruction, an unlikely friendship takes hold…
  • The Death Defying Pepper Roux (2009)
    When Pepper Roux was born his aunt foretold that he would not live past 14 years of age. Throughout his childhood his parents haven't bothered with him much, knowing that his life would be short-lived. So when Pepper wakes up on his 14th birthday he knows this will be the day that he'll die. But as the day wears on, and Pepper finds himself still alive, he decides to set off to sea in an attempt to try and avoid death for as long as possible. As time goes on Pepper steps into many roles and personas and has numerous outrageous adventures. But can he stay one step ahead of death? Or will fate catch up with him? And, if he does live, which of his many lives will he choose to adopt?
  • Pull Out All the Stops! (2010)
    There isn't much drama in Olive Town. The highlights of Cissy Sissney's days are the letters from her old schoolteacher, Miss Loucien, describing her adventures on board an old showboat with the Bright Lights Theatre Company. If only life were full of such adventure for Cissy, too. But then diphtheria breaks out in Olive Town, a silo crushes Cissy's home, and Miss May March agrees to take Cissy and classmates, Kookie and Tibbie, to stay with Miss Loucien until Olive town is safe again. The ramshackle crew on board the Sunshine Queen sail along the shoals and shimmer of the Numchuck River, performing plays for the towns scattered along the shore. But sometimes, on the treacherous Missouri River, danger levels rise too high even for the resourceful Bright Lights. Then only the bravest, and grandest, in the land can hope to keep the final curtain from falling.