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The Goblin and the Empty Chair Hardcover – September 22, 2009
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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From School Library Journal
"The Dillons' characteristic clean lines and controlled palette mirror the tender emotion of the tale while providing young viewers with plenty of visual cues to guide them along the story...this gentle read will...leave listeners safisfied."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Top Customer Reviews
It begins with a well garbed goblin seeing his reflection in water and deciding that he is so scary that he will hide his face away from the world. What he cannot hide, however, is his good heart, and when he sees a farmer breakdown one day, drop his tools and bury his head in his hands, the Goblin decides he must act.
Taking sympathy on the fellow the Goblin goes at night and "[H]e dug where digging was needed. He chopped where chopping was needed." And "[H]e painted where painting was needed. And was careful not to be seen."
In a short course of time, something similar happens with the farmer's wife and the farmer's daughter. They are overwhelmed by their burdens, and in each case, the Goblin goes and does what needs to be done... quietly, and secretly. Or so he thinks.
**if you don't like spoilers you might want to skip down to Talking Points**
The book ends with the family sitting down for a meal. They look at the empty chair at their table. The mother gets up and gets a setting for it. The daughter then goes and opens the door, and they wait for the Goblin to join them. After some delay, he does, and then the little girl takes away the wrap that the Goblin has been using all these years to hide his face. Then they smile at one another and dine.
I hardly ever go into so much detail in my reviews, but I felt compelled to do that for this book because it has such as lovely message.Read more ›
Repeating this pattern with the farmer's wife and daughter, this story has all the finest fairy tale elements. The empty chair of the title is never explained, but the implication is that the family members are grieving for the person who once sat at the table with them. The exquisite, framed illustrations greatly expand the story. For instance, on the farmhouse walls, there are pictures of a boy. The illustrations also show that the green, but tall and elegant goblin always keeps the
lower part of his face covered with a scarf. In the denouement, as Goblin finally sits in the empty chair, the family smiles as the girl unwinds the scarf. In the type of fascinating element that causes children to return to a story repeatedly, the illustrations never show the goblin's face. Beautiful and intriguing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book about not judging others by appearance. I have ordered copies for all the families of my grandchildren. They all love it.Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
What an amazing book! My granddaughter asked me to read and reread it to her. The illustrations are beautiful, but the story is amazing. Read morePublished on October 18, 2010 by Miriam Booker
I almost missed out on this great book because I was put off by the plot summary. Saving a seat for a goblin? But there is nothing unlikely or cute about this tale. Read morePublished on April 21, 2010 by Travis Ann Sherman