________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 16. . . .December 23, 2016


Maxwell the Monkey Barber.

Cale Atkinson.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2016.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-103-9.

Preschool-grade 1/ Ages 4-6.

Review by Nikita Griffioen.

**** /4



He grabbed his scissors
And lowered the chair,
Ready at nine to cut some hair.

internal artMaxwell the Monkey Barber, the newest work from Kelowna author and illustrator Cale Atkinson, is a wonderful shelf addition to his previous work, To the Sea.

     Maxwell the Monkey Barber tells the story of an ambitious young monkey who creates a barber shop in a tree. His customers start arriving in no time—first, a baboon comes in with “curls grown high” (p. 3). The baboon’s hair situation looks rather grim; he is encompassed in his own hair. Thanks to Maxwell, however, his hair becomes tamed, and more animal clients come pouring in—a lion (p. 7), a bear (p. 13), and more. After each of Maxwell’s clients has him care for them, they are sent off with Maxwell’s cheerful, “And before you go, might I say, your hair’s the best I’ve seen today!” (p. 25). An elephant walks into the shop (p. 19) and presents Maxwell with his biggest hair problem yet: the elephant is bald and wants hair. It takes all of Maxwell’s imagination and resources to solve the problem for poor elephant, but Maxwell gains a new skill and service to offer his clients.

     Atkinson’s illustrations are the perfect addition to an engaging story. Each page’s images are bright and cheery, adding to Maxwell’s already inviting personality. The animals on each page have realistic expressions that any child—or adult—will delight in. Maxwell’s positive attitude is reflected in illustrations of him smiling, laughing, and doing crazy handstands.

     Atkinson’s Maxwell the Monkey Barber is the tale of a likeable monkey whose aim is to help his clients look the best they possibly can—no animal client leaves unattended or displeased! Maxwell is a character who is sure to engage readers of all ages.

Highly Recommended.

Nikita Griffioen is currently in the Teacher Education Program at University of the Fraser Valley. She will teach high school English and is working on writing and illustrating books of her own.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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