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MY CHAIR by Betsy James


by Betsy James & illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-439-44421-7
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

In this eloquent paean to chairs as much more than just places to sit, a multigenerational group of neighbors comes together on a broad urban lawn to perch on or around an array of folding chairs, overstuffed living room furniture, and everything in between, as children describe their chairs as toys, play environments, conveyances, imagination stretchers, and comfort objects. “My chair is squishy . . . It eats quarters and trucks and colored pencils and my arm and my leg and my brother and my bicycle.” “My chair rocks.” (It’s a rocking chair.) “Mine rolls.” (A wheelchair.) “When the world is too big, my chair is just right.” Young viewers will pore over the actively posed figures and sometimes-surprising details in DePalma’s increasingly populous scenes—and also wonder about the large wrapped package around which everyone is gathering. What is it? A bouncy baby chair, just right for the bouncy baby who puts in an appearance at the end. In a tradition stretching from Ruth Krauss’s A Hole Is to Dig (1952) to Elizabeth Scanlon’s A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes (p. 184), here’s another “just right” invitation to see the uncommon possibilities in commonplace objects. (Picture book. 6-8)