Picture Book Nook: The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Come to the magical land of Fandango!  There’s dancing and music, with bears, bisons, baboons, kangaroos and even dinosaurs.  Most amazing of all is the Man from the Land of Fandango himself.  He bingles and bangles and bounces, and he’s coming to give you a call.  Are you ready for the party?

Reading The Man from the Land of Fandango is like stepping into Margaret Mahy’s imagination.  You can imagine that all these wonderful things would have been flying inside her head.  When she describes the man from the Land of Fandango it’s like she is describing herself.  Someone who brings joy and excitement to children and ‘is given to dancing and dreams’ sounds exactly like Margaret.  Her wonderful poem is full of her characteristic wordplay, and the rhythm and rhyme bounces you along.  I especially love the alliteration, like ‘jingles and jongles and jangles’ and ‘he juggles with junkets and jam in a jar.’  This is the third book of Margaret’s that Polly Dunbar has illustrated and her style is just perfect for Margaret’s wacky poems.  Polly’s illustrations are magical and full of joy and laughter.  I love that the children never stop smiling from beginning to end.  Her illustrations make you want to jump right into the book and join in the fun with the bears, baboons, dinosaurs and The Man from the Land of Fandango.  Even the words on the page look like they’re having fun in this book, as they dance all over the place.

You won’t be able to stop yourself from reading The Man from the Land of Fandango out loud, because the words just roll off your tongue.  Just like Margaret and Polly’s other collaborations, Bubble Trouble and Down the Back of the Chair, this will certainly become a favourite that children will beg to be read again and again.

5 out of 5 stars

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Filed under authors, books, children, New Zealand, Picture Book Nook, picture books

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