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THE GOBLIN AND THE EMPTY CHAIR by Mem Fox Kirkus Star

THE GOBLIN AND THE EMPTY CHAIR

By Mem Fox (Author) , Leo Dillon (Illustrator) , Diane Dillon (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8585-3
Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

An unspecified medieval setting, an outwardly grotesque creature who is tender and compassionate, sad humans beset by difficulties, three tasks performed by the hero and a moral about looking beyond appearances; all of these are familiar elements in the fairy-tale tradition. Fox is a master at crafting tales that linger in memory over time, gently adding to the canon of classics. Her text is full of imagery and repeats several lovely phrases, with the theme of gentle kindness permeating the carefully chosen language. The Dillons’ signature style raises the level of achievement even higher. Each page is framed in three parts with the text at bottom, a central watercolor illustration of a key event and its concomitant strong emotion and a border strip depicting actions that immediately precede the text. Gargoyles mirroring the emotions of the characters peek from behind each frame. The family’s despair is never explained, but there is a pictorial clue that young readers will understand. A perfect combination of words and images. (Picture book. 6-9)