Review – The Man from the Land of Fandango

The recent loss of legendary Kiwi author Margaret Mahy made me realise something. I had never, ever read any of her books. So remiss of me because this beautiful picture book is testament to a long and glorious authorship I’d completely miss out on – until now.

The man from the land of Fandango is coming to pay you a call. That’s right. The man who’s given to dancing and dreams is on his way, decked out in his tri-colour jacket and polka-dot tie and his hat with a tassel and all. Whenever he dances, bison and bears join in. Baboons play bassoons. Kangaroos hop and bound, and even dinosaurs join in the din.

Rhythmic, dynamic and straddling that delicate balance between classic, old-fashioned storytelling and the use of a modern, totally unique writer’s voice, this gorgeous book has been illustrated by Polly Dunbar, who uses striking colour and movement to bring this delightful character and his young friends alive. I’m loving the use of delectable onomatopoeia in this book, as well as the curling, swirling typeface.

This adorable, energetic, rainbow-filled character only appears every five hundred years – so when he calls, you’d better make sure you’re home. Love.

The Man from the Land of Fandango is published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.


Published by

Tania McCartney

Tania McCartney is an author of children's books and adult non-fiction. Recent books include Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne, and Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline. She's also an editor, publisher and founder of Kids Book Review.