Monday 19 November 2012

The Man from the Land of Fandango

The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Walker Books)
HC RRP $27.95
ISBN 978-1-84780-220-0
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This is a book to be read aloud. Read it the first time for the sounds in the magical text. Go through it the second time and observe the pictures. Then read it again and allow the text and illustrations to become one.  There is a wonderful bouncing rhyme and rhythm to the text. The illustrations appear to move in time with the rhymes due to the perfect translation in pictures by Polly Dunbar, who also illustrated the late Margaret Mahy’s Down the Back of the Chair and Bubble Trouble.

The man from the land of Fandango has a tricolour jacket and a hat with a tassel, he ‘bingles and bangles and bounces’ (like the text).The bears and the bison join his dance, and the baboons make music with their bassoons, while ‘the kangaroos come with a hop and a bound’.

The book is full of movement and sound, animals, and children. There are drinks and cake, dreams and dancing, and a wonderful play of consonants and vowels. This delightful and entertaining publication has a gorgeous jacket identical to the cover. It shows the man from the land of Fandango, ‘who only appears, every five hundred years, so you’d better be home when he calls’. It will be enjoyed by the 5+ age group when read alone, read to, or read together with someone else.

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