________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 24. . . .March 3, 2017


Little Blue Chair.

Cary Fagan. Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper.
Toronto, ON: Tundra, 2017.
40 pp., hardcover & eBook, $22.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-755-9 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-757-3 (eBook).

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Andrea Boyd.

** /4



She didn’t need the little blue chair anymore. So she put it at the side of the road and hung a sign on it. The sign said, ‘FREE TO A GOOD HOME.’

A boat’s captain strolled by on his way to the harbor.

He saw the chair.

It will be perfect, he thought, and he carried it on his shoulder.


There are simple things in life that we use every day, such as chairs, that we often take for granted. This endearing story is about the journey of a chair who passes through the possession of various owners. In the beginning, the little blue chair belongs to a young boy named Boo. He delighted in taking the chair with him everywhere he went. To Boo, the chair was much more than just a place to sit: it was the tip of the tent when he played outdoors, it was a stool when he wanted to boost his height, and it even became a pillow at times when he fell asleep. Once Boo outgrew his chair, his mother discarded the item by leaving it at the end of their driveway with a note that read: PLEASE TAKE ME. The little blue chair ends up in a junk shop, and from there it is passed on to a string of owners who each use the little blue chair to serve a new purpose. When the owners decide that they no longer need the chair, they, too, offer it up in a similar way to that of Boo’s mother: with a sign for somebody else to make use of it. In the end, the chair literally lands on Boo’s front doorstep. At this point, Boo is a grown man with a child of his own. Quickly recognizing that this is the chair he once adored as a child, Boo revives the visibly used chair and gives it a new life. Following the repairs, Boo gifts the refurbished little blue chair to his young daughter, Belle, who loves the chair as he did.

      Typically, stories have a main character with a voice. What makes Little Blue Chair unique is that the focus throughout the story remains on an inanimate object. Instead of following the changes that time plays in living things, such as humans or animals, the little blue chair has a charming life of its own. There is a sweetness to the chair that, even though it cannot speak nor is it spoken to, it is appreciated and valued in unusual ways.

      A young audience of readers may find it dull to follow the journey of the little blue chair in this story as there are no elements of humour or intriguing plot. This story seems more likely to end up as a bedtime read-aloud than a children’s favourite. On the other hand, if young children who hear this story have an adored possession of their own that they can relate to, the connection may help them to better enjoy the story.

      Canadian artist Madeline Kloepper beautifully enhances the picture book through her illustrations. The use of soft colours and lines featured in the illustrations on each page perfectly suit the pleasant story. The artwork in Little Blue Chair was rendered in ink and pencil and finished digitally.


Andrea Boyd is an early years educator who recently graduated from the University of Manitoba. She currently teaches Grade 4 in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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