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Alex and the Ironic Gentleman

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Overview

Often mistaken for a boy because of her haircut and name, Alex Morningside is an inquisitive girl of ten-and-a-half who attends the prestigious Wigpowder-Steele Academy. Unfortunately, though she loves to learn, Alex just can’t bring herself to enjoy her classes. Her teachers are all old and smelly and don’t seem to know about anything that has happened in the world the past thirty years, and her peers…well they are quite simply ridiculous. Luckily for Alex, the new school year brings an exciting new teacher. Mr....

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Alex and the Ironic Gentleman

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Overview

Often mistaken for a boy because of her haircut and name, Alex Morningside is an inquisitive girl of ten-and-a-half who attends the prestigious Wigpowder-Steele Academy. Unfortunately, though she loves to learn, Alex just can’t bring herself to enjoy her classes. Her teachers are all old and smelly and don’t seem to know about anything that has happened in the world the past thirty years, and her peers…well they are quite simply ridiculous. Luckily for Alex, the new school year brings an exciting new teacher. Mr. Underwood makes lessons fun and teaches her how to fence. But Mr. Underwood has a mysterious family secret - the swashbuckling and buried treasure kind - and not everyone is glad he has come to Wigpowder-Steele. When the infamous pirates of a ship called the Ironic Gentleman kidnap Mr. Underwood, Alex sets off on a journey to rescue him, along the way encountering a cast of strange and magical characters, including the dashing and sometimes heroic Captain Magnanimous, Coriander the Conjurer, the Extremely Ginormous Octopus, and the wicked Daughters of the Founding Fathers’ Preservation Society.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As PW's starred book review put it, Kress's rousing adventure is a "wonderful blend of whimsy and moral," involving a sixth-grade heroine, Alex, who lives with her uncle, and a teacher descended from a famous pirate and heir to his treasure. Alex is convinced the treasure map is hidden in the stately manor run by the vicious old ladies of the Daughters of the Founding Fathers Preservation Society. Returning home victorious, Alex discovers her beloved uncle has been killed and her teacher kidnapped. Lane's expressive narration never overpowers the story's simple, observational prose style. He brings to life the many colorful characters by giving them distinctive voices, such as the Extremely Ginormous Octopus whose large, booming, throaty voice would fill a canyon; the refined, aristocratic Charles, a mad scientist; and the snarling bearded gentleman. Listeners will eagerly stay tuned to this fantastical quest. Ages 10-up. Simultaneous release with the Weinstein hardcover (Reviews, July 16). (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
What a hoot! Our young heroine, Alex, gives an extraordinary performance with her resounding voice and impish ways as she sweeps across the countryside and sails the ocean blue into one mad capped adventure after another. I read several pages before the book, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, caught my attention and held me captive to this slew of outrageous characters, from the simple unpresuming teacher, to the daughter's of the founding fathers, to the mysterious captain of the ship, Ironic Gentleman. Page after page, nothing normal or expected happened. I could not wait to see what would occur next. It starts with a hidden map that leads Alex to go in search of not only the treasure, but also her teacher, whom she has to rescue. Unexpected villains show up and stop at nothing to keep her from the treasure. Unusual twists and turns happen all the time, and nothing is as it should be. Will Alex get to the treasure and be able to save her teacher? Will she live happily ever after, or will the death of her uncle leave her an orphan forever? The author made me feel like I was part of the adventure, and I wondered to myself what I would do next. The one criticism that I have would be the length of the book. It seemed long and drawn out, where it could have added more tension with a little more cutting. Otherwise, this book is worth its weight in gold and silver.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7 -Sixth grader Alex lives with her uncle above his doorknob shop in this swashbuckling adventure by Adrienne Kress (Weinstein Books, 2007). When the school year begins, she is excited to discover that she has a new teacher, Mr. Underwood. What is surprising, however, is that he is the heir to a pirate treasure. After Mr. Underwood is kidnapped by the pirates of a ship named the Ironic Gentleman , and Alex's uncle is killed by a falling shelf of doorknobs, Alex sets out to rescue her teacher. On her quest, she faces danger and encounters a variety of bizarre characters. Eventually, she is also captured by the pirates and comes face-to-face with the ship's captain. That's when she learns the real irony of the ship's name. The pirate captain is neither a man, nor is she gentle. Christopher Lane deftly moves between the different character's voices, giving each a distinct personality. A must purchase for school and public libraries with substantial audiobook collections.-Kathy Miller, Baldwin Junior High School, Baldwin City, KS

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Alex, a short, slight ten-and-half-year-old orphan, is often mistaken for a boy. This is the first of many apparently inconsequential details offered in a long-winded, occasionally arch conversational narrative that details her trials and tribulations. When her sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Underwood, is revealed as the heir to a long-lost pirate treasure and subsequently kidnapped, Alex rides to the rescue on his trusty bicycle. Along the way, she's chased by crazed, chainsaw-wielding docents, trapped on a train, befriended by a talking refrigerator and betrayed by a conjuror with a drinking problem. She even briefly toys with the notion of joining the bad guys. Kress's plot is undeniably inventive and several episodes will likely provoke laughs. But, the tone is quite dark and the narrative never quite jells. Characters are broadly sketched, making it difficult for readers to care deeply about Alex's situation, no matter how dire. Fans of fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek adventures may welcome Alex and cheer her eventual triumph. Others will likely lose interest long before she reaches her goal. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602860254
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books
  • Publication date: 8/19/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Adrienne Kress is a writer and actress from Toronto. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Her work has been performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, among other venues in Canada and the UK. This is her first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great fantasy adventure for boys or girls

    This book was awesome!! It's about a girl who is an orphan living with her uncle, whose teacher is heir to a pirate fortune. The teacher gets kidnapped by other pirates who want the treasure for themselves, and Alex (who is actually a girl) goes to rescue him. The journey to rescue her teacher is completely, hilariously insane, from the octopus who wants to be an actor to the talking fridge who helps Alex make scones. This story is genius.

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  • Posted September 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    just enough cleverness

    This is my grade-school daughter's absolutely favorite book; its only other competitor for the most re-reading is Alice in Wonderland, and that is a significant number of times. She is an avid reader and has been exposed to plenty of adventure: few have her quaking and giggling simultaneously.
    I have to say that I am a pretty big fan myself. Kress has wonderful imagination, most evident in the crafting of her characters. The adventure holds the unexpected where Alex meets the bizarre, and the often creepy. And as much as I love the hero and her friends, I think the villains are spectacular.
    This book is intelligently written, there is the wit, and the saucy narrator. The storytelling moves the reader through an adventure in a way that recalls the Classic tales; Kress does not undermine the young reader. In minding her audience, and forgoing the insipid, Kress has written a timeless story--broadening her audience and bringing them back to the pages time and again.

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  • Posted March 7, 2009

    Kids Love This Book!

    Alex and the Ironic Gentleman is an outstanding story that will capture the imaginations of children and adults alike. I read this book aloud to my class of 10-12 year olds and at the end of each session was begged to keep going. Ms. Kress sends Alex, the heroine, on exciting, frightening, surprising and often hilarious adventures. The language is rich and descriptive and the dialogue is witty and intelligent. The reader is quickly carried away with Alex as she embarks upon a most extraordinary treasure hunt encountering delinquent old ladies, a disheartened octopus and swashbuckling pirates to name but a few. If you enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and everything in between, you'll love Alex and the Ironic Gentleman!

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    The greatest read ever for 8 to 12 year olds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book is about Alex Morningside a ten and a half year old girl who`s uncle was killed, and sixth grade teacher(Mr. Underwood) is kidnapped, because he is the great great great grandson of the imfamous Wigpowder the pirate who hid his fortune and hid the map to then treasure. Now alex must find the map and the treasure to keep herself and Mr.Underwood alive. I would highly recommend this book because it never disappionts in any chapter, with all the adventure,humor,and myserty it`s hard to put down

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  • Posted January 11, 2009

    Delightful

    Reading Adrienne Kress¿ Alex and the Ironic Gentleman is like plunging back into childhood. Like the first time I read 'The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet' or' Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.'<BR/><BR/>This is not hyperbole. Kress¿ narrative voice pulled me in and made me feel like I was riding next to Alex on her bike through the forest, dancing the Charleston on a mysterious train, and always, always searching for her missing teacher, Mr. Underwood. (That¿s Alex as in Alexandra, in case anyone is puzzled.) Kress¿ villains are creepy and just a little bit buffoonish, perfect for a Middle Grade book. Her pirates (Of course there are pirates. And sword fighting. And buried treasure.) are definitely not the good guys. The true heroes in this book are the unexpected ones.<BR/><BR/>On her quest to rescue Mr. Underwood, Alex¿s adventures run the gamut of ¿Eww, gross!¿ to despair to excitement to joy. How gross? Locked in an old mansion and forced to give foot rubs to sinister old ladies who all have damp, smelly, squishy feet. How joyous? Sorry. I won¿t spoil the swashbuckling climax.<BR/><BR/>Alex is a modern girl in a modern world. One of the pirates uses a laptop to chronicle their history. The police station has a standard two-way mirror. And Alex attempts to convince one character that being a movie star is a good career move. Kress weaves sparkling fantasy seamlessly into this contemporary setting: the reluctant actor just happens to be the Extremely Ginormous Octopus. And every time Giggles the cat gave Alex a dirty look, I expected him to start talking.<BR/><BR/>Not much makes me feel like a kid again. Alex and the Ironic Gentleman did it by page five. Like one of those old movie trailers, I laughed, I cried, I wanted more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2008

    Thank you - I had a fun time with this!

    This book got *excellent* reviews and I can tell why. It's 1) funny and imaginative 2)an homage to varying and excellent authors and 3) it's called satire. There is nothing more mentally stimulating for both children and parents alike to find amusement in well written whit and banter. It is the finest sort of 'filler', and can be found throughout many of the world's greatest works of fiction. It is true that satire does not appeal to everyone, but surely it is not 'stupid'. I found this book to be truly inspiring. Ms. Kress manages to weave adventure, whit, folly, and even a musical number or two into her story in such a seamless fashion, I was surprised, happy and even a little sad to find myself at the end. I truly enjoyed this book... and I'm 42 (I borrowed it off my niece who reluctantly gave it to me after carrying it around with her for several weeks). We're both looking forward to the next installment!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2008

    Sorry - I had a hard time with this

    Sorry - I know this book got *excellent* reviews, but I found it 1) tedious to read, 2) lots of the pages were simply 'filler', and 3) a rip off of styles by other authors. I could definitely tell this was the author's first book. Okay, this is a childrens book and I'm an adult but for some reason I find it so derrogatory when an author calls me 'dear reader' (Lemony Snickett syndrome) and addresses the reader as a child - even if they are a child. On the whole the story could have been good, but it was so disconnected. It went from believable to stupid drifting off on talking refrigerators and side lines just to make the book thicker. The only reason I finished it was because I was reading to someone else and when I was done, they immediately asked me if we could read 'a better book the next time?'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2007

    AN AWESOME READ!

    Alex and the ironic gentlemen is an amazing book, and very creative. The writer really did know what she was talking about with the sword fighting. I could hardly put this book down, with pirates, sword fighting, sailing and adventure whats not to like? with all the twists and turns how could you put it down? i highly recomend this book, so enjoy people

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2007

    Delightful!

    Reading Adrienne Kress¿ Alex and the Ironic Gentleman is like plunging back into childhood. Like the first time I read 'The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet' or 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' This is not hyperbole. Kress¿ narrative voice pulled me in and made me feel like I was riding next to Alex on her bike through the forest, dancing the Charleston on a mysterious train, and always, always searching for her missing teacher, Mr. Underwood. (That¿s Alex as in Alexandra, in case anyone is puzzled.) Kress¿ villains are creepy and just a little bit buffoonish, perfect for a Middle Grade book. Her pirates (Of course there are pirates. And sword fighting. And buried treasure.) are definitely not the good guys. The true heroes in this book are the unexpected ones. On her quest to rescue Mr. Underwood, Alex¿s adventures run the gamut of ¿eww, gross!¿ to despair to excitement to joy. How gross? Locked in an old mansion and forced to give foot rubs to sinister old ladies who all have damp, smelly, squishy feet. How joyous? Sorry. I won¿t spoil the swashbuckling climax. Alex is a modern girl in a modern world. One of the pirates uses a laptop to chronicle their history. The police station has a standard two-way mirror. And Alex attempts to convince one character that being a movie star is a good career move. Kress weaves sparkling fantasy seamlessly into this contemporary setting: the reluctant actor just happens to be the Extremely Ginormous Octopus. And every time Giggles the cat gave Alex a dirty look, I expected him to start talking.. Not much makes me feel like a kid again. Alex and the Ironic Gentleman did it by page five. Like one of those old movie trailers, I laughed, I cried, I wanted more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2007

    Fabulous... funny... a real find!

    I picked this book up because I was intrigued by its jacket. In this case, a book most certainly CAN be judged by its cover! Adrienne Kress creates a young, lovable heroine and places her in extraordinary (and, I must say, laugh-till-you-bust-a-gut) situations, on her adventures to save her fifth-grade teacher from pirates. A truly original story, fantastically rich and magical characters with enough twists and turns and highly amusing anecdotes to keep even the most cynical of readers entertained. What a find!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Not Just For Children

    I totally enjoyed this children's title. I am a sucker for a great read and love children's adventure stories. This one was so clever and the premise such a delight I had to pass it on to a child who adored it (their mother did too!).

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    Posted November 6, 2009

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    Posted September 8, 2012

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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