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Evangeline Mudd and the Golden-Haired Apes of the Ikkinasti Jungle

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Hold on to the chandeliers! An eccentric couple’s passion for primates leads their dauntless daughter on a wild adventure in this offbeat illustrated novel.

Learning to swing from the rafters, eating peanut-butter sandwiches with her feet . . . Evangeline Mudd has had an unusual childhood. Her primatologist parents have taken their child-rearing cues from the golden-haired ape, whose resourceful and fun-loving lifestyle they deeply admire. But life takes a drastic turn when ...

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Overview

Hold on to the chandeliers! An eccentric couple’s passion for primates leads their dauntless daughter on a wild adventure in this offbeat illustrated novel.

Learning to swing from the rafters, eating peanut-butter sandwiches with her feet . . . Evangeline Mudd has had an unusual childhood. Her primatologist parents have taken their child-rearing cues from the golden-haired ape, whose resourceful and fun-loving lifestyle they deeply admire. But life takes a drastic turn when Evangeline’s parents are called away from their cozy New England bungalow on a research trip to the Ikkinasti Jungle. And when they mysteriously fail to return, it’s up to Evangeline to travel to Ikkinasti and find them herself! In this comical, fast-paced tale, David Elliott ventures deep in the jungle for some close encounters with giant spitting spiders, a crazed developer, a retired headhunter, some persistent primates, and an impressively plucky heroine.

When Evangeline Mudd's primatologist parents travel without her to the Ikkinasti Jungle to study the golden-haired apes, Evangeline and the world-famous Dr. Aphrodite Pikkaflee are eventually called upon to rescue the Mudds and save the jungle from the evil schemes of Aphrodite's money-mad brother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Elliott's (The Transmogrification of Roscoe Wizzle) pleasingly far-fetched caper centers on a girl whose primatologist parents have previously dedicated their lives to studying the golden-haired apes that inhabit the remote Ikkinasti Jungle. When their daughter Evangeline is born in New England, they decide to raise their child exactly as these "agreeable" apes raise their young. This leads to some kid-pleasing scenarios: Evangeline can hold a sandwich in one foot while taking a sip of milk with the other, "all without spilling a single drop." She is delighted when her parents teach her to "brachiate" ("If you don't know the meaning of that word, don't worry. You'll learn all about it in the next chapter"), or swing ape-like from trapezes hung from the ceiling of their home. When the girl is eight, her parents excitedly scoot off to the jungle to investigate a new family of golden-hairs, leaving Evangeline in the dubious care of her father's second cousin, twice removed, whose mink ranch and fur factory attract the ire of animal-rights activists while his crazed wife, a former ballerina, practices incessantly in her tutu. Dr. Aphrodite Pikkaflee, an eminent primatologist, comes to Evangeline's rescue, whisking the girl off to the jungle to search for her missing parents. Their madcap adventures will appeal to kids with a taste for silliness, as will Wesson's (Opera Cat) sprightly illustrations. Elliott's wry asides to readers and his penchant for goofy names add to the tale's good-natured nonsense. Ages 7-10. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Evangeline Mudd's primatologist parents are so obsessed with the golden-haired apes of Ikkinasti Jungle that they even raise their daughter based on the child-rearing practices of these animals. When the Mudds are sent, last minute, on a scientific expedition to Ikkinasti, they leave Evangeline with her father's "second cousin, twice removed" and his wife for safety's sake. Unfortunately, these relatives show total disinterest toward their charge as Evangeline becomes even more dedicated to preservation of all life and nature on Earth. After her parents disappear, the intrepid eight-year-old contacts Dr. Aphrodite Pikkaflee, world expert on golden-haired apes, and together they figure out that the doctor's greedy, anti-nature brother is behind the mystery. They travel to Ikkinasti where, with the help of reformed human headhunter Dadoo, they find and rescue the Mudds, stop the wicked plot to destroy the rain forest, and receive some slightly magical help from thousands of butterflies. There are some lovely, imaginative touches in this entertainingly improbable tale. Everything is sorted out neatly, but not facilely, in the end-people do have periods of sadness, there are still those who refuse to care about wildlife or nature. Wesson's pencil illustrations, reminiscent of Quentin Crisp's work, add greatly to the generally whimsical air. Ecological themes, humor, intriguing characters, and touches of absurdity should appeal to young readers with burgeoning social consciences.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Evangeline Mudd is a lucky little girl: raised by primatologist parents in the fashion of the gentle and remarkable golden-haired apes, she grows up swinging from chandeliers, utterly and completely secure. Until her parents are given research opportunity in Ikkinasti, that is-then Evangeline is sent to stay with her awful cousin Melvin Mudd for a two-week sojourn that turns into months, until she is sprung by Dr. Aphrodite Pikkaflee, who takes her to Ikkinasti to rescue her parents. Elliot has consciously set about crafting a Quirky Tale that aspires to the Dahl-esque-but, lacking the biting edge of the master, falls far short and must settle for Cute. This cuteness quickly becomes tiresome, the initial contrived names and situations leading to more contrived names and situations that leave the reader in no doubt of Evangeline's ultimate happy reunion with her parents and the defeat of Dr. Pikkaflee's renegade developer brother. As the avuncular-beyond-belief narrator might say, "Have you ever eaten an entire cone of cotton candy in one sitting? That's what reading this is like." (Fiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763618766
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.88 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

David Elliott is the author of THE TRANSMOGRIFICATION OF ROSCOE WIZZLE, a Book Sense 76 Selection, and several picture books for younger readers, including most recently THE COOL CRAZY CRICKETS TO THE RESCUE! illustrated by Paul Meisel. David Elliott teaches in the MFA Program in Writing for Children at Lesley University.

Andréa Wesson is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and has illustrated several books for children, including OPERA CAT, JACK QUACK, and NOT JUST ANOTHER MOOSE. This is her first book with Candlewick Press.

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Read an Excerpt

"We have decided," her father replied, "that the time has come for you to learn to brachiate."

Evangeline's heart skipped a beat in anticipation.

"Really?" she asked, jumping up. "Do you mean it?"

"Come along, Evangeline, darling," her mother said.

Magdalena led Evangeline into the cozy bungalow, which to the girl's utter amazement and joy had been rigged from room to room with trapezes. The ceiling of that bungalow looked like the canopy of a circus tent, except there were hundreds of trapezes instead of just two or three.

"Happy birthday, darling," said Magdalena, rubbing noses with her daughter, the golden-hair way of demonstrating deep affection.

"Have a ball, my dear," said Evangeline's father, and picking her up, he extended his long arms until Evangeline took hold of one of the trapezes.

Evangeline grabbed the trapeze with both hands and pumped her legs. Within seconds the trapeze was swinging back and forth like the pendulum on a grandfather clock. Without a word from her mother or father, she grabbed the trapeze hanging directly in front of her with one hand and let go of the first trapeze with the other. In the wink of an eye, she was brachiating around the room like crazy.

"Wheeeeee," called Evangeline as she zipped over and around her parents. "Watch this!"

And letting go with both hands she did a somersault before she grabbed the next trapeze.

"She's a natural," her father said proudly as he watched Evangeline whiz around the room.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2004

    RICHLY IMAGINED

    If you loved David Elliott's first book (and even if you didn't) you'll be bananas over Evangeline Mudd. 'Bananas' seems an appropriate expression here as Evangeline's parents are primatologists, and she considers herself the luckiest girl in the world. After all what other parents would actually encourage their offspring to swing from a chandelier or tell their child to skip a bath at night because he or she had taken one last week? Dr. Merriweather and Dr, Magdalena Mudd are particularly interested in the golden-haired apes of the Ikkinasti Jungle, and wish to raise their child as the golden-hairs are raised. However, since Evangeline was obviously human that presented a few problems. For instance, while golden-hairs would never put a diaper on a baby that could be well, unfortunate, if the baby were human. Of course, there were exceptions, too. The Mudds very much wanted Evangeline to take piano lessons, but they'd never seen a golden-hair pianist. This would be an exception to their rule. The Mudds are nothing if not flexible. Thrilled at being sent to the tropical rain forest of Ikkinasti on a scientific expedition the Mudds are so eager that they never suspect anything might be amiss. They leave Evangeline with 'her father's second cousin, twice removed and his wife.' Melvin and India Terpsichore are extremely wealthy and absolutely horrible. Over a period of time Evangeline becomes miserable with this pair; she wonders what has happened to her parents. So, she writes a letter to the world expert on golden-hairs, Dr. Aphrodite Pikkaflee. He responds immediately, and it's not too long before he discovers that his avaricious brother is behind a plot to destroy the rain forest. Evangeline and Dr. Pikkaflee journey to Ikkinasti to find the Mudds and save the rain forest. Once there they meet some pretty unusual characters including countless butterflies who aid and abet them in various ways. David Elliott has one of the richest imaginations to be found today blended with a puckish sense of humor - an irresistible combination. He's a joy and so is Evangeline Mudd.

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