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THE MAN IN THE CEILING by Jules Feiffer

THE MAN IN THE CEILING

By Jules Feiffer (Author) , Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-205035-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

 In his first children's book, a noted cartoonist and playwright wisely essays what he's always done best--a satirical, somewhat jaundiced take on the contemporary human condition, exemplified here by aspiring cartoonist Jimmy Jibbett and his family. The result isn't strong on plot, though there's enough to carry the reader along: seeking his artistic identity, Jimmy ponders the differences between his uptight businessman dad and fashion designer mom; tries an uncomfortable collaboration with a charismatic older boy (still a preteen) who turns out to be a clod; gets moral support from a flamboyant older sister whose one fault is her truly terrible temper; and, most significantly, observes Uncle Lester, after years of effort, take a play to Broadway to universal applause--except from the critics. The play closes; Lester desponds; Jimmy not only comes up with his very own cartoon superhero (see title) but, with the perseverance Lester prescribed, learns to draw hands--a success that lifts Lester out of his doldrums. Lester's story threatens to take over, though it's germane to Jimmy's and seen from his point of view; best here, though, are the incisive takes on characters and relationships--and Feiffer's splendidly vital depictions of them, in a fiendishly agile line (plus Jimmy's rougher strips, believably boyish yet deft). Wordy--like being buttonholed by a witty, but garrulous, raconteur--but fun. (Fiction. 8-12)