Monday, August 17, 2009

Review #40: Down the Back of the Chair

Dad:  Do you remember a little while ago when a fellow from Hungary wanted us to review a Hungarian book?  We found a Hungarian folktale to review...
Isaac (age 10):  Does someone else want us to do one now?
Dad:  This time someone from New Zealand... actually more than one person from New Zealand, on more than one occasion has asked us to review a book, any book, by Margaret Mahy.  She's from New Zealand, and I gather they all love her over there.
Lily (age 6):  It's time to let them have their wish.
Dad:  Yep.  And people love her here in America too.  So this is a book by Margaret Mahy.  And it's illustrated by Polly Dunbar.
Gracie (age 9):  Dunbar.  That's such a cool name.
Lily: (singing)  Dunbar!  Dun, dun, dun, dunbar!
Gracie:  I want to be called "Dunbar"!
Lily: (still singing)  Dunbar, Dunbar, Duuuunbar...
Dad:  Polly Dunbar is not from New Zealand.  She's from England.
Gracie:  Awesome.
Dad:  The book is called "Down the Back of the Chair."
Lily:  Yes.  "Down the Back of the Chair."  That is what it is called.
Dad:  I looked over lots of Margaret Mahy books, and this was my favorite.
Gracie:  Me too.
Lily: (singing again)  Down the back of the chaaaaairrrrrrr.
Dad:  So, tell us what the book is about...
Gracie:  "Down the Back of the Chair" is about a family that is starting to get poor.  Just - like - us.
Lily:  But they were poor because they lost their keys.  A bird took them.
Dad:  And with no keys, then there's no car... no work... no money.
Gracie:  Then the little two-year-old tells them to reach down the back of the chair.  So they do, and out pops crazy things.
Isaac:  They keep finding more and more stuff down the back of the chair.  Lots of stuff down the chair.  Like some fuzzy string and a spider and a purple eel.
Lily:  That thing that looks like a snake -- that's an eel.
Isaac:  Eels.  That's weird.
Gracie:  And there is a ring, a lion, a dragon, a clown.  And there are elephants with teapots.
Isaac:  You could get zillions and millions of dollars just by showing off the dragon.
Gracie:  And a bandicoot.  What's a bandicoot?  He's cute.
Isaac:  The bandicoot is awesomeness.
Gracie:  And there was a twin!  The baby's twin was down the chair!
Isaac:  The twinless twin became a twinfull twin.  And the twinfull twins ate an icecream cake.
Gracie:  He's happy because he has his long lost twin.
Lily:  The babies get everything.
Gracie:  Like, they get the icecream sundae.
Lily:  They even got the diamond ring.
Isaac:  We gotta get a chair like that.
Lily:  I wish I ate that sundae with the babies.
Gracie:  Then they find Uncle Bill's will.  A will is a thingie that says where someone's money goes.
Isaac:  Where there's a will, there's a way.
Gracie:  They also find money.  Then they are all so rich -- so, so rich.
Isaac:  And their house exploded.
Gracie:  They got so much stuff, their house exploded!  And when they said, "Who needs car keys? Now we could just call a taxi" --then a taxi pops out of the chair!
Isaac:  I want that chair.
Gracie:  It's possible to live down there.  The baby did it.
Dad:  What do you think the baby and the dragon and the lion were doing down there all day?
Isaac:  Boogie-ing.
Gracie:  Having tea with the elephants.
Isaac:  That was a very cramped chair.
Lily:  It was a magical chair.
Gracie:  I think everyone fit because they magically shrunk tiny as ants.
Isaac:  I think the animals never ate all those years, so they got skinnier and skinnier until they were as skinny as paper.
Dad:  So if the chair was magical, does that mean it wouldn't work with our chair?
Lily:  Nope.  We would have to look for that chair.
Dad:  What things do you find in our cushions?
Gracie:  Pencils.
Isaac:  I found two quarters and a penny.
Gracie:  Putting all the money together that I've found in the back of our chair, I probably found two dollars and three cents.  In change.
Dad:  We need to find a better chair.
Gracie:  We need to find the will of Daddy Warbucks.
Isaac:  Why didn't they just pull the whole seat cushion off?
Dad:  You mean instead of reaching behind it over and over?
Isaac:  That would be so much easier.
Dad:  Alright everyone...  what is this called: "...challenging chair, champion chair, cheerful chair..."
Lily:  Chiming.
Dad:  Chiming?  Is that when you're rhyming with a "ch"?
Gracie:  It's called alliteration.
Dad:  We also saw some internal rhymes.  Okay, you tell me if this is internal rhyming or alliteration...
Isaac:  Oh great.
Dad:  "A skink, a skunk, a skate, a ski."
Isaac:  Alliteration.
Dad:  Right.  How about, "There's pleasure and treasure."
Gracie:  Rhyming.
Dad:  But what about, "There's pleasure, treasure, toys, and trash."
Lily:  Alliteration and rhyming.
Dad:  What about the pictures in this book?
Isaac:  The spider has a lot of boots.
Gracie:  The pictures are cute.
Isaac:  The pictures look like cut paper, but they are actually drawings.
Dad:  I think the illustrator drew all the parts separately, cut them out, and then glued them all down into one picture.
Gracie:  They're cool.
Dad:  So what did you think of Margaret Mahy?
Gracie:  Margaret Mahy's marvelous.
Dad:  Ahhh, there's some alliteration.
Isaac:  Magnificent.
Dad:  How about Polly Dunbar?
Gracie:  Polly's perfect.
Dad:  How about Dunbar?
Gracie:  Dunbar...  Dunbar...  Dunbar is an awesome name!
Lily:  Delightful Dunbar.
Gracie:  That could be the name of a candybar.

Dogs and drums and bubble gum, by Isaac

the twins find some cash, by Lily

the chair, by Gracie

Author: Margaret Mahy
Illustrator: Polly Dunbar
Published, 2006: Clarion Books
Like it?  Find it


Heidi Noel said...

"Where there's a will, there's a way." Very fun review. My children and I are grateful you put the effort into these each week. We haven't read a book you have reviewed that we didn't enjoy.

pambelina said...

(That's my big sister's comment above).

My baby boy enjoys the books you review too. Could you do a book with lots of animal sounds sometime?

ElizT said...

Very satisfying, with great pictures. Did that spider glider find Gracie down the back of the chair?

Shelley said...

Fabulous illustrations from the kiddos! I'll have to look for this book.

marina said...

Wonderful blogs!Bravi!!:)

Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian said...

This is my favorite book by Mahy too!

- Freaky

paperclip said...

love the way u do yo artwork
great effort..