We can't afford a new one.
Now, if you please, Dad's lost the keys.
We're facing rack and ruin.
No car, no work! No work, no pay!
We're growing poorer day by day.
No wonder Dad is turning grey.
The morning is a blue one.
So starts Down the back of the chair by Margaret Mahy, a rollicking and rhyming story of a family that has very little money and a car that won't work. Their lives may be going to custard, but they are not a family to despair - oh no - with urging from one of the youngest family members they decide to look down the back of the chair to see what they can find. What they find down the back of the chair is a weird and wonderful mix of the ordinary and the extraordinary!
I have performed this story with others and it is a pleasure to read it aloud and watch the wonder on the audiences faces as the next amazing item appears from the back of the chair. Some stories don't work so well when you read them to a large audience, but it seems that this is one of those stories that gets better with a bigger audience, one that draws the children (and adults) into the story and refuses to let them go - and the louder the volume the better!
While Margaret Mahy has written a wide range of books that have won awards nationally in New Zealand and internationally, I have always loved her picture books more than anything else. She is a treasure of children's literature who will be sadly missed. Rest in peace Margaret.
Morning report, Tuesday 24 July 2012, Children's author Margaret Mahy dies at 76
Other books by Margaret Mahy:
- The man whose mother was a pirate by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain
- Bubble trouble by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by Polly Dunbar
- A lion in the meadow by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by Jenny Williams
- Dashing dog by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by Sarah Garland
- The moon and Farmer McPhee by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by David Elliot
- Jam by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by Helen Craig
- The three-legged cat by Magaret Mahy; illustrated by Jonathan Allen
- A summery Saturday morning by Margaret Mahy; illustrated by Selina Young
Reviewed by Brilla