Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, January 28, 2013

Every How Many Years?

During the cloudy days of winter in northern Michigan we are reminded to not take for granted the beauty of sunrises and sunsets even though it's an everyday occurrence. Once a month around the world depending on the season and quality of the air, people are treated to a spectacular full moon.  Each August devoted viewers are dazzled by the display of the Perseid meteor shower.  Then, too, many have a verbal agreement (in my circle of friends) to call one another if the northern lights should make an appearance.

These natural phenomena remind us to be ready to enjoy the everyday and also the unexpected, knowing we might never see anything exactly like it again.  Keeping this in mind, let's step inside, supposing a most unusual visitor has appeared in your home announced.  This guest might be The Man from the Land of Fandango (Clarion Books) written by Margaret Mahy with illustrations by Polly Dunbar.

The man from the land of Fandango
Is coming to pay you a call.

Clothed in special attire, with exuberance and glee, this man can be anything he desires; a bird, a bell or a ball.  He'll show you how to dance with a bear and even a bison.  Musical tunes will be by bassoon-playing baboons.

Bouncing kangaroos and noisy dinosaurs will join in the fun.  Sweet treats will be enjoyed by all until the man from the land of Fandango swoops away to dance and dream.  His feats with food as he enters your room will delight and astonish.

Why the man is a marvel as he uses the walls and ceiling for his jolly jiving; gravity holds no claim.  So wait, watch and wonder.  Be set to go, you'll never know....he only comes every 500 years.

Hans Christian Andersen Award winning Margaret Mahy consistently demonstrated her versatility penning gripping middle/young adult books (I will never forget The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance or Underrunners.) and equally appealing, delightful picture books.  In this title her lilting, lyrical rhyming lines literally dance on the page along with the man from Fandango.  Readers will readily join in the joyful jamboree where a fantastical world enters the characters' home with an irresistible rhythm created by alliterative word choices.

On a pathway of soft rainbow colors the man from Fandango moves into the children's day laughter on all their faces among the colorful stars on the jacket and cover.  Opening and closing endpapers are scattered with large textured teal and white stars.  Using watercolor and collage throughout  Polly Dunbar begins picturing the young girl and boy painting a life-size figure on paper taped to the wall.  When he comes to life floating from the painting, changing shapes, and dancing, the melodious magic commences.

The text weaves and flows among the images on the pages; images which alter in size and perspective creating movement.  Extra details add to the fanciful antics; the bear wearing a tie and hat, the bison in red high heels, a red bow on her tail with ruby-red lipstick on her mouth, or the dinosaurs playing tambourines held in their mouths.  Skillful use of white space illuminates these illustrations bathed in happiness.  If you listen closely you can almost hear the laughter.

Looking at the cover readers will want to soar, giggle and frolic with The Man from the Land of Fandango written by Margaret Mahy with illustrations by Polly Dunbar.  The captivating rhythm felt with each read rhyme is an open invitation to join in the festivities.  Get ready readers, you never know...this year could be year 500.

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