denver, david mckee (andersen press)
excuse me while i saliva VOMIT on this book.
denver is the story of a philanthropic and generous billionaire (called denver) who lives in the manor house and employs all the townspeople to do things for him, like clean and cook and drive his car and scratch his bum. but he's not a money-grubbing miser at all! denver loves to paint: he's an artiste! denver himself is a colourful chappie with a snappy suit and a hat. the townspeople have naive, wide-open eyes as though drugged or hypnotised. denver pays his slaves-aka-employees well and treats them nicely and everyone in town loves him and loves each other and everything is hunky dory.
until one day some scheming, trenchcoat-wearing, man-in-shadow, evil communist comes along and slyly, quietly, poisons the minds of the townspeople - why should denver have so much, while you have so little? so they revolt and denver is so unhappy that they've turned against him that he divides his wealth equally between everyone and leaves town.
denver finds another town and paints all day and his paintings are so popular that it isn't long before denver is filthy rich again. BUT! the greedy townspeople back at his old town have squandered their new-found wealth. the town is falling down around them; they're alcoholics, insane, turned to prostitution and gambling.* they need denver back to restore order and make their lives good again, through reaganomics and the trickle-down effect.
so denver thus returns, takes his rightful place at the top of the pyramid and his minions fall back into place in their orderly and obsequious proletariat bottom of the heap, where they should be.
david mckee is the author of many, many books - including that lovable patchwork elephant elmer. you can read the blurb from the book here.
*poetic license; interpreted through illustrations, not text.
UPDATE: reading another review of this book, i felt i must share this line from denver that i had forgotten between vomiting all over the bookshop floor in disgust and getting home to relay it to you (canNOT believe i forgot this one, it was the worst bit of the whole sorry story). this comes at the very end of the book: ‘As for the stranger, he’s still wandering around breeding discontent. If he comes your way, don’t listen to him’. yikes.