The Creature Department by Robert Paul Weston
Published by Razorbill (Penguin Group)
Genre: YA, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon
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.
Information has taste? Robert Paul Weston’s The Creature Department is one delightful and utterly unpredictable idea and event after the next. We should expect nothing less from a book with a glow-in-the-dark cover!
Elliot Von Doppler accepts an invitation from his (rather mysterious) uncle to visit a research and development department at a local factory and…all at once… the summer doldrums have ended. He and pal Leslie are confronted with the inexplicable, the somewhat disgusting but otherwise-quite-nice, and quite desperate group that are in charge of company inventions. Herein we are catapulted into a world that we can make sense of, but certainly cannot predict. It’s a fun romp with odd creatures (and a few great illustrations) odd inventions, and odder executives. Science and creativity meet and so much fun erupts! Loads of humor collide with some slimy descriptions, and manage to create a mild level of suspense from one scene to the next.
All age readers will enjoy the ideas about friendship, loyalty, and a sense of the ridiculous; and likely share a great desire to try out the famous dim sum recipes, too. Although this story is meant for Middle school readers – this adult reader was completely entertained from start to finish.
My Recommendation: buy this for the young reader on your list, but read it yourself before you pass it along!