Review: The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy

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.

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