Mr. Mouthful and the the Monkeynappers

Joseph Kiimble, illustrated by Kerry Bell

Publisher: WordFancy Books Pages: 34 Price: (hardcover) $21.95 ISBN: 9781734209754 Reviewed: February, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

When a man who doesn’t know the meaning of brevity finds his pet monkey rescued from thieves by a group of children, he’s left nearly speechless.

Mr. Mouthful, described as “our favorite fancy-pants,” uses long and sometimes unconventional words that lead to gaps in understanding for those around him. He also happens to have a pet monkey named Dupree. Through most of the story, Mr. Mouthful and Dupree gallivant around town, often followed by children who are delighted to see Dupree. Because Mr. Mouthful uses complex vocabulary, his warnings—about a hole in the ground, a freshly painted fence, or an ill-placed tree stump—go unheeded. This results in children splattered with mud and paint or inflicted with minor injuries.

As the story evolves, two monkeynappers attempt to steal Dupree. Mr. Mouthful shouts long tirades, but it’s the children who become heroes by springing into action. Mr. Mouthful’s gratitude is sincere, made more so by his plain words of thanks.

As the picture book delivers a cerebral message about using simple language to get your point across, children will delight in the longer words peppered throughout, as when Mr. Mouthful warns some kids to avoid a hole in the ground with: “It’s such a perilous situation!” Or when he yells at the children to catch Dupree: “Apprehend and detain him posthaste.” The fun, dramatic illustrations capture the spirit of this madcap adventure.

On the down side, many aspects of the story are unexplained; for example, why are there monkeynappers in the first place? Or why does Mr. Mouthful speak this way? But children will likely be charmed by the drama and character-heavy illustrations, even if they find it hard to articulate the moral of the story.

Demonstrating how plain language can mean more than flowery words, Mr. Mouthful is largely an entertaining story for young readers.

Also available in paperback.

Author's Current Residence
Omaha, Nebraska
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