MISTER WHISTLER by Margaret Mahy


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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This sprightly, whimsical tale will induce plenty of giggles and start toes to tapping.

Mister Whistler is dreaming of singing and dancing when a phone call from his great-aunt awakens him; she needs him to come over right away. As he puts on each article of clothing, his feet keep dancing. They dance all the way to the train station, where he buys a ticket. But when he needs it, he can’t find it, so he proceeds to take off each item of clothing, all the way down to his underwear, trying to find his ticket. But all the while he’s disrobing and dancing, he’s clenching the ticket in his teeth! Other passengers toss coins in his discarded hat. He dons his clothes and boards the train only to lose the ticket again—but he buys one with the money he made. The artwork perfectly plays out the capriciousness of the comic story. Bishop clearly had fun designing the clothes: polka-dot boxers, blue checked trousers, a harlequin waistcoat (also the pattern on the endpapers) and big green coat with a fur collar. Mahy’s inimitable sense of whimsy informs the plot, and her rock-solid sense of rhythm invests her prose with musicality: “He felt in his big coat pockets. Right? No! Left? No! Top left? Ah! Good!”

This romp fits in beautifully with Mahy’s other wacky picture books; pair it with Song and Dance Man for a lively read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-877467-91-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Gecko Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2013


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