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More about My Chair



My Chair
by Betsy James
illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma
Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic 2005
ISBN 0-439-44421-7


My Chair is included in Children's Books 2004: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing. This is a list compiled by librarians at the New York Public Library. You can order a copy online.

My Chair was also selected for the International Reading Association's Children's Choice List for 2005. More info is available at the IRA website




Kirkus Reviews
June 15, 2004

In this eloquent paean to chairs as much more than just places to sit, a multigenerational group of neighbors comes together on a broad urban lawn to perch on or around an array of folding chairs, overstuffed living room furniture, and everything in between, as children describe their chairs as toys, play environments, conveyances, imagination stretchers, and comfort objects.

...Young viewers will pore over the actively posed figrues and soemtimes-surprising details in DePalma's increasingly populous scenes--and also wonder about the large wrapped package around which everyone is gathering.

... In a tradition stretching from Ruth Krauss's A Hole is to Dig (1952) to Elizabeth Scanlon's A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes (p.184), Here's another "just right" invitation to see the uncommon possibilities in commonplace objects.

School Library Journal
July, 2004

A diverse group of neighborhood children gathers together outdoors, each bringing a chair.

...The various seats include a cardboard box, a tire, a wheelchair, and even one fashioned out of tree logs. As they wait, the youngsters imagine the different things that their perches can be.

...Dynamic, two-page acrylic cartoon paintings illustrate the action; within each one, a large rectangle or bubble depicts a particular character's fantasy.

... Meanwhile, the real-world scenes take on more and more humor as the children crawl in, over, and under the furniture, creating forts, tents, and caves.

...This unique book offers a lively depiction of community caring and imaginative paly.--Marianne Saccardi

Mothering Magazine
July-August, 2004

My Chair, by Betsy James and illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma, encourages the celebration of differences by showing a diversity of kids with their favorite chairs, from an Indian elephant to a wheelchair to a mushy monster. DePalma's whimsical pastel paintings are a treat for the imagination.

September 15, 2004

A chair is a ship, a fort, or something to sit on to protect one's ice cream from the dog in this appealing original picture book. The diverse neighborhood children gather outdoors with their chairs, from an old tire to a wheelchair to an upturned cardboard box.

...Imaginative vignettes, a genuinely childlike perspective, and absorbing illustrations with an expressively drawn cast of characters distinguish this surprising flight of fancy.--Karin Snelson