The Bad Chair

Dasha Tolstikova. Groundwood, $18.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77306-246-4
Tolstikova (Violet and the Woof) writes a closely observed account of someone longing to be noticed. Vivi is a tan-skinned girl who engages in nightly sessions of hide-and-seek with her stuffed yellow monkey. In Tolstikova’s world, inanimate domestic objects can talk—they’re all portrayed in bright, loose art—and the child’s playful quizzing while sporting a deerstalker cap is part of her hide-and-seek ritual: “Have you seen Monkey?” she asks Cat, Chair, Kettle, and Plant. One night bright red Chair, longing to be the object Vivi hunts for, intentionally spills a drink all over Monkey, who has to be laundered: “Maybe tonight Vivi will look for ME!” Chair thinks, hopes high. Though Vivi is temporarily fooled, she becomes outraged when she uncovers the ruse. Readers will feel Chair’s pain as Monkey and Vivi retreat together (“I have so much to tell you,” Vivi croons exclusively). In the end, Vivi has a change of heart, but the story’s real draw is the clash between Tolstikova’s cheery, naïf-style artwork and her mordant portrait of an uncertain soul. Ages 3–7. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/23/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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