Book corner: Down the back of the chair

Dear Friend,

As a Primary School teacher I recognise the value and importance of reading with your children. We have a house full of children's books and each month we choose one of our favourites to review. This months I choose:

Down the back of the Chair by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar.



ISBN 978-1-84507-602-3



Down the back of the chair is a book filled with wonder and adventure. It is the tale of Mary and her family who don't have a lot of money to spare and are desperately in need of a new car. In the story Dad happens to lose his keys and Mary suspects that they may be down the back of the chair. This is where the fun really begins as the families search down the back of the chair leads them to all kinds of crazy things including; a diamond ring, a pan, a napping dragon and a pirate with a treasure map. But will it be enough in the end to save the family from poverty?



I love the use of personification with the grinning chair and the clever use of rhyme throughout the story makes it more fun.

The use of language is brilliant with lots of lovely adjectives to discuss.

I also love how the author has used alliteration throughout the story. This is such a great way to get children hearing sounds.

The illustrations are really beautiful. You could display these on the wall in a children's nursery. 

The ending to the tale is just magical (I won't spoil it for you) but it is a happy one. 

The final page just makes the book for me as I love the poetic use of alliterating adjectives here. I would love to do this with a class and get them to make up rhymes for other objects.

I can't believe that I have never heard of Margaret Mahy before. She was a New Zealand author of children's and young adult books. She wrote more than 100 picture books, 40 novels and 20 collections of short stories. Her children's books, A Lion in the Meadow and The Seven Chinese Brothers and The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate are considered national classics. I will definitely be looking out for some more!

I particularly love how this book is set in a familiar place, the home but how it incorporates magical elements, wonder and excitement. A brilliant book that really excited me, a must read!


Our rating: 9/10.

For more in the Book corner series see here.




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