The Bad Chair
The Bad Chair
Vivi and Monkey played the game every night before bed.
Monkey hid under a sheet, and Vivi pretended she didn’t know where he was.
First she looked for him in all the usual places.
Then she rounded up the witnesses: Chair, Planet, Kettle and Cat.
“Have you seen Monkey?” she asked each of them.
Everyone stared blankly, and eventually went back to whatever they had been doing.
Everyone except Chair, that is. Chair only had eyes for Vivi.
Written and illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova, The Bad Chair is a heartfelt story about friendship and feeling left out. Intended for pre-school to primary-grade audiences, this is a picture book readers of all ages are certain to enjoy.
Each evening before the bedtime routines of toothbrushing and snuggling down begin, Vivi and Monkey play a hide and seek game. Chair wishes more than anything that he could play, too. One evening when feeling tired of being left out, Chair decides to make Monkey late for the game, hoping that Vivi will look for him instead. But nothing goes quite according to plan! Instead of searching for Chair, Vivi continues to look for Monkey, becoming increasingly worried. To help solve the mystery of the missing monkey, she gathers the usual witnesses for questioning: Plant, Kettle, Cat, and, of course, Chair - all passive bystanders to the nightly game. As Chair becomes key to the investigation, his worry grows that Vivi may not want to be friends if Monkey is found.
With a beautiful mix of illustrations in predominantly cool tones and a few splashes of warm colours, Tolstikova’s delightful drawings add simple yet sophisticated visuals to accompany the story. The intentional use of smaller and larger font to help denote distinct feelings of worry and anger during Vivi and Chair’s verbal conflict is wisely done in an effort to allow readers to identify the emotions both characters are feeling during the climax of Monkey’s disappearance.
Certain to become a got-to read-aloud choice for educators, librarians, and parents alike when seeking to promote the importance of inclusion, The Bad Chair helps to prove that picture books often hold great power when examining social-emotional issues in childhood. Children will genuinely empathize with Chair as he takes on the role of the outsider peering in on social interactions that exclude him. And, although the tale offers nothing groundbreaking or new to readers, the straightforward yet impactful story exemplifies that the simplest of efforts (e.g., asking someone to partake in a game) can often show the greatest kindness.
Amy Westbury is a teacher-librarian at Abbey Lane Public School in Oakville, Ontario.