Review Blog

Oct 02 2012

The man from the land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar

cover image

Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2012. ISBN 9781847802200.
(Age 4+) Recommended. A wonderful verse story from Margaret Mahy and beautifully illustrated by Polly Dunbar, The man from the land of Fandango is a joy to read aloud and peruse. Two young children paint the man form the land of Fandango who comes alive bringing bingles and bangles and bounces and coming to make a call.
The story of the man from Fandango is told with verve by Mahy, a master at using beautifully and evocative language to stir the imagination:
'The man from the land of Fandango
Is given to dancing and dreams,
He comes in at the door like a somersault star
And he juggles with junkets and jam in a jar
And custards and caramel creams.'
This book is a joy to read aloud and will extend both the imagination and the vocabulary of any child who listens to it.
Dunbar's colourful illustrations have a life of their own and really enhance and complement the story. The man from Fandango is pictured as a jolly red cheeked plump man who skps and plays a horn. The children have  happy expressions on their faces that make the reader smile. I especially liked the contrasts that Dunbar made in her illustrations of the animals. The picture of the dancing bison, who had a mythical type head and in contrast wore red high heels and a red bow on her tail is a favourite. The dancing bears had neckties and little hats and huge kangaroos fluttered their eyes with long eyelashes.
Margaret Mahy has brought immense joy to children through the years with her wonderful stories and The man from the land of Fandango is one that is a keeper.
Pat Pledger

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