Author: Robert Paul Weston
Age Range: 8-12
Grade Level: 3-7
Series: The Creature Department (Book 1)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (November 5, 2013)
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Science Fiction
Source: Wunderkind PR for review.
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
About the Book:
A hidden laboratory…
A brilliant invention…
A team of quite unusual creatures…
But can they save the department?
Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in
Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the
world’s fifth-largest electronics factory.
Beneath the glass
towers and glittering skywalks, there’s a rambling old mansion from
which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one
except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the
end of the hall.
Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.
They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken
teeth; tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly; and huge, hulking,
hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen!
But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000
factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they
are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot,
Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, “employees” to create an
invention so astonishing it will save The Creature Department.
“A literal Creature feature, with plenty of cinematic and digital spinoff potential.” –Kirkus“The Creature Department
is sure to appeal to those middle graders who like a lot of silliness, a
bit of rickum rockery, and a giggle of grossness…” — NY Journal of Books“The language is fun, the mood slightly macabre, and the imagination explosive.” —This is Infamous
“Filled with wonder and populated by strange beings. In other words, it’s pretty frickin’ great.” —Geeksmash“Underneath the eccentric creatures… eerie-yet-fun hidden laboratories, and whirring gizmos and gadgets, the appeal of The Creature Department lies
within its more human values: friendship, being true to one’s dreams,
standing up for what you think is right, and never giving up.” —GeekMom
About the Author:
Robert Paul Weston lives in London, England, in a crumbling old
building, hidden behind shiny glass towers. He isn’t sure if this is
where the idea for DENKi-3000 Headquarters came from, but it’s certainly
possible. In 2008, he published his first novel-in-verse, Zorgamazoo,
recipient of the California Young Reader’s Medal, the Silver Birch
Award, the Children’s Choice Award, and an E.B. White Read Aloud Honor.
His second novel was the hardboiled fairy tale, Dust City, which was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. In February 2013, he published Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff.
Although he writes all of his books with a mechanical pencil, it’s not
electric and doesn’t come with a telescopic lens. To learn even more
about him, go to: www.robertpaulweston.com or follow him on Twitter
About the Illustrations:
Framestore is a visual effects studio based in London, New York,
Los Angeles, and most recently Montreal. Their work can be seen in all
eight of the Harry Potter films, Where the Wild Things, War Horse, and The Golden Compass, for which they won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. In New York, they recently worked on Ben Stiller’s new version of Walter Mitty. In London, they worked on Paddington Bear; Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock; the samurai epic 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves; and Jupiter Ascending by The Wachowskis. Iron Man 3 and Robocop were produced in Montreal. For more information, go to www.framestore.com.
Character Interview with Gugor the Knucklecrumpler:
How long have you worked in the Creature Department at DENKI-3000?Gügor has worked for the professor for eight years and two months and twelve days.What’s the best thing about being a Knucklecrumpler?Squashing stuff. And wearing a loin cloth. Loin cloths are very comfortable.What is the weirdest thing you have ever squashed?Gügor
once squashed a squash racket, when Harrumphrey invited Gügor to play a
game with him. Harrumphrey was angry, but Gügor doesn’t know why. If
you don’t want people to squash the rackets, why would you call them
that?Does Famous Freddy’s Dim Sum Emporium serve anything other than pork dumplings? If yes, what is your favorite?There
are 298 items on the menu at Famous Freddy’s Dim Sum Emporium, but
Gügor doesn’t have a favourite because Gügor only likes pork dumplings.If you could squash any character in the book, who would it be?Gügor only squashes machines. Oh, but maybe some ghorks. Gügor doesn’t like ghorks.What is your opinion on fishing vests? Dapper or dud?Gügor likes vests. They go well with loin clothes.Are you working on any new inventions in the Rickum Ruckem Room?Gügor
is working on a brand new electrombone. It’s made from a tuba, two
coronets, some plumbing pipes and the engine from a tractor.
My Thoughts on The Creature Department:
Fantastic adventure! This is a delightful and kid-friendly romp through a
mysterious company that invents amazing things. The Creature Department
encompasses everything that appeals to kids. Monsters, crazy
inventions, flying boogers, finger pulling (with the accompanying fart),
and some high flying superhero action. This book is
funny, complex, interesting, and wildly entertaining.
It starts off a little slow, but gets interesting very quickly. The
characters are a lot of fun and each one has a unique personality that
makes them memorable. I love the choices in each character’s clothing.
Elliot’s fishing vest caused me to laugh on more than one occasion.
There is a lot of action in the second half of the book and a lot of
surprises that kids will love. The only thing I didn’t really like
about the book was the predictable way things wrapped up. It is a very
fun book for kids, but I would have liked to see it be a little less
predictable. But in all honesty, I doubt if the kids that read this book
will have the same (if any) complaint. This is a super fun book that
kids will absolutely love.
Content: Clean, unless you find farting offensive. 😉
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