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Down the Back of the Chair

Margaret Mahy
Frances Lincoln
Apr 2006
“Down the back of the chair” is the entertainingly imaginative new picture book by Margaret Mahy, the deserving winner of the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen author award. The book opens with a family catastrophe when dad loses his car keys – observant readers will not miss the true location of the keys on the first double-page-spread featuring Polly Dunbar’s vibrant and wacky illustrations. Wisdom arises out of the mouth of two-year-old babe, Mary who advises a fair old rummage down the back of the comfy chair.

What an assemblage of curios and creatures are to be found there… Hairy string, a diamond ring, pineapple peel and a conga eel… children and adults alike will delight in the increasingly unusual, extravagant and unlikely items that are to be found there.

Perhaps the best thing about this book is the fact that all of the items - so accurately detailed through Mahy’s magnificent rhyming text and so vividly realised in Polly Dunbar’s attractive and eye-catching illustrations – sow the seeds for a thousand tales as readers ponder the story of how they came to be there in the first place! The keys are never found, but I think you’ll agree the resolve here is far more exciting!


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