man from the land of fandango

The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

My son and I had just stopped in the middle of a rather painful rhyming picture book and then we picked up this one.  The contrast was profound.  Here we found a fanciful and playful picture book with rhymes that swept us merrily up.  It is the story of a man from an imaginary land who leaps off of the page where he is created by two small children.  They dance with a bear and a bison, bound with kangaroos.  There is juggling, jingling, and even cake!  Then the man returns to the picture, not to return for another 500 years.  It’s a silly and very fun book that is filled with nonsense and plenty of jam. 

Mahy’s words really dance here, carrying the story forward on a rhyming flow.  This is not a book that is a straight-forward story, rather it’s a dazzlingly silly wander.  Children will quickly understand that this is pure nonsense and go with it.  Dunbar’s illustrations have a wonderfully light touch.  They are filled with bubbles and speckles.  Whimsical creatures and plants populate the page, often dancing with glee. 

This is a merry read that has a great lightness and silliness at its heart.  A wonderful posthumous release from the amazing Mahy.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.