The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard

by Eddie Campbell and Dan Best

Publisher: First Second

Format: Softcover, 6 x 9, full color, $16.95

ISBN: 978-1-59643-301-4

Reviewed by: School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up—Etienne, nephew of Jules Leotard, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze," inherits his uncle's blank book and false mustache and creates a new life for himself built on his uncle's reputation. The story is organized into episodes, each a collage of images and text, imaginatively composed to tell the story. Captivating images fill pages, sidebars, and panel sequences. A spread of sheet music for the song "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" serves as the background for images of Leotard performing his acrobatic act across the page. Four square panels in the center of other pages tell the story, while exquisitely rendered background images of the EiffelTower, the Titanic, and other locations serve as settings for the action taking place. The story is also a strange montage of historical events including the Prussian siege of Paris and the sinking of the Titanic, historical figures such as John Sanger and Buffalo Bill, lyrics from old songs such as "After the Ball Is Over," numerous puns, and clever asides. With so many events, characters, and side references, this book requires follow-up readings to appreciate the story fully. A rather whimsical cover may give the impression that this is a book for young readers. However, references to historical figures and events, quotations from Nietzsche and Longfellow, as well as a running joke involving an aspect of female anatomy make it better suited to more mature readers.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY