MONSIEUR EEK by David Ives


Age Range: 11 - 13
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Playwright Ives doesn’t stray far from his theatrical roots in this pointed tale of parochialism run amuck in a town not unlike Gotham or Chelm. MacOongafoondsen, population 21, is so isolated that when the townsfolk find a chimpanzee aboard a wrecked ship, they think he’s a French spy. Despite the best efforts of young Emmaline, daughter of the recently deceased mayor, and hereditary Town Fool Flurp (a.k.a. Philip), the fearful, easily-swayed populace falls for the legalistic bluster of rapacious new mayor Ignorantius B. Overbite and his slimy bailiff Lexter Shmink, condemning “Monsieur Eek” to death after a mock trial. The satiric aspects of that trial, and other set pieces, will go over less-sophisticated readers’ heads, but those with a taste for theater of the absurd will enjoy the way Ives lampoons authority figures, politics, law, and human society in general with his uncomplicated, broadly brushed cast of heroes, villains, and buffoons. Innocence triumphs in the end, of course, while villainy receives a proper comeuppance, and the wide world opens up for MacOongafoondsen with the timely arrival of human shipwreck survivors. Silly names aside, like Steven Bauer’s Cat of a Different Color or Paul Shipton’s Mighty Skink (both 2000), this gleeful attack on human ignorance and narrow-mindedness will appeal more to adult readers than most children. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 23rd, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-029529-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2001


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