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Down the Back of the Chair Hardcover – June 12, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (June 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618693955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618693955
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 9.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3–This rollicking, rhyming, rags-to-riches story begins when Dad loses the keys to his beat-up car. As the young female narrator points out, No car, no work! No work, no pay! and so the day begins quite grimly for the family that is growing poorer day by day. But then the narrator's two-year-old sister suggests that her father should do what she does when she loses something: search down the back of the chair. And then the fun really begins. Dad's first reach into the easy chair's recesses yields a bit of hairy string, and then the first sign of reversed fortunes–a diamond ring. From there the seemingly magical armchair produces a seven-inch-long spider, a clown, a string of pearls, two tea-sipping elephants, a pirate with a treasure map,/a dragon trying to take a nap–, and other delights. But when Dad pulls out the long lost will of Uncle Bill and his money hoard, the family's financial woes are over. Dunbar's flower-patterned chair is wonderfully ordinary, and its plainness is in perfect contrast to the zany creatures and objects that spring forth from it. The watercolor and cut-paper illustrations are expressively detailed and whimsical, a superb match for the buoyant and breezy verse as it, too, flies this way and that. A delightfully optimistic, entertaining crowd-pleaser.–Carol L. MacKay, Forestburg School Library, Alberta, Canada
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Like Shel Silverstein's poetry, Mahy's exuberant rhyme bounces with nonsensical humor and begs for guitar accompaniment. On a bleak day, when money is low and the car keys are lost, a young girl and her siblings console their depressed dad by sharing their own technique for cheering up and finding missing items: see what's under the cushions. Sure enough, a magical storehouse of wonderments emerges from an armchair, and the girl describes the mayhem in infectious rhymes: "Some hairy string and a diamond ring . . . pineapple peel and a conger eel." Children may need help with some of the vocabulary (drake and docket, for example), but the wild assortment of objects, which include a pirate and a "lion with curls," will easily delight, as will the cacophonous, sunny, paint-and-paper collages of tea-drinking creatures, the comically stressed-out dad, and the cheerful kids. Expect lots of chanting along to the marching refrain ("Down the back of the chair") and phrases such as "a skink, a skunk, a skate, a ski." Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Margaret Mahy lives in New Zealand and is internationally acknowledged as one of the most outstanding children's writers today. She is the author of more than two hundred books for children of all ages, two of which have received England's Carnegie Medal and others of which have garnered numerous citations from the American Library Association. She is also the recipient of An Order of New Zealand, the highest honor a citizen can receive. In 2006 she received the Hans Christian Andersen award for her contributions to international children's literature.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
The rhyme, the illustrations, the story!
Barbara Donath
We have all of the books by this author and they are go to favorites!
a mom
My 4 year old twin boys absolutely love this book.
HeatShur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Kids ages 4-7 will welcome another Mahy presentation: here a read-aloud story about a father who's lost his car keys. A frantic search leads a child to suggest the back of the chair - from whence all wonderful and amazing lost items are found. A fun rhyming text blends with fine drawings in a funny fantasy of a simple chair's riches.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vicki W. Moricz on August 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Really fun book for kids (and adults) to read..some far out things are recovered "in the chair"!! Outlandish, but truly interesting book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. McClung on December 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My family loves this book - it is unique and fun to read. Great pictures and the rhyming text is very clever. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brigid A Kehoe on July 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had heard of this book years ago as I would have bought it for my grands who are now too old to fully appreciate it. It will, however , now go to my youngest grand but will have to wait until he is a bit older.
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By Barbara Donath on June 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The rhyme, the illustrations, the story! Such beauty! (I love the cut-watercolor illustrations the best). Such rhythm and deep truth, though funny and cute! 5 stars!!!
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