Boy or Beast (Creature from the 7th Grade Series)

Boy or Beast (Creature from the 7th Grade Series)

by Bob Balaban, Andy Rash
     
 

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From award-winning actor-writer-producer-director Bob Balaban comes a hilarious new series, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

If popularity were a score between one and ten, Charlie Drinkwater would be a zero. He's nerdy and unathletic, and to top it all off, he's suddenly morphed into a giant mutant sea creature sometime between first-period

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Overview

From award-winning actor-writer-producer-director Bob Balaban comes a hilarious new series, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

If popularity were a score between one and ten, Charlie Drinkwater would be a zero. He's nerdy and unathletic, and to top it all off, he's suddenly morphed into a giant mutant sea creature sometime between first-period science class and third-period English.

Now Charlie's two best friends are treating him like a science project, there's a petition to get him kicked out of school, the cool kids are recruiting him for their clique, and for some reason his parents are acting like everything is perfectly normal. What's a slimy, scaly, seventh-grade creature to do?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The onset of puberty is bad enough under most circumstances, but when one’s bodily changes include scaly green skin, a tail, flippers, and gills, that’s just cruel. Such is the lot of 12-year-old Charles Drinkwater, who permanently transforms into an amphibious creature during science class one October morning, thanks to “mutant dinosaur” genes in his DNA that his parents neglected to tell him about, not wanting to upset him. “Can you tell me why Grampa Wallabird married a mutant dinosaur,” Charlie asks them during a heart-to-heart about his family history, “or will that upset me too much?” Rather than spell social doom, however, Charlie’s transformation actually increases the former outcast’s popularity; this, in turn, endangers his relationship with his unrepentantly geeky two best friends and attracts even more attention from a bullying classmate. Actor/director Balaban (the McGrowl series) laces his story with film references—particularly horror classics—using a dry sense of humor (amplified by Rash’s spot-art cartoons) and the supportive presence of Charlie’s parents and his Bela Lugosi–style science teacher to deliver an endearingly quirky story about embracing oneself. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
The New York Times
"The amiable drollery of The Creature From the Seventh Grade carries it a long way."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Balaban (better known as a longtime stage and screen actor) excels in creating a voice that's absolutely spot-on for a tween boy."
Henry Winkler
“Bob Balaban does it all (really he does). He directs, acts and writes funny (really he does). In my opinion, this book is a monsterpiece."
Whoopi Goldberg
"Bob Balaban knows this world so well, you might think this actually happened to him. Read it and you'll see!"
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
"Balaban (better known as a longtime stage and screen actor) excels in creating a voice that's absolutely spot-on for a tween boy.
Julianne Moore
“A very funny and insightful exploration of what it means to be the REAL you.”
From the Publisher
“Bob Balaban does it all (really he does). He directs, acts and writes funny (really he does). In my opinion, this book is a monsterpiece." — Henry Winkler

"Bob Balaban knows this world so well, you might think this actually happened to him. Read it and you'll see!" — Whoopi Goldberg

“A very funny and insightful exploration of what it means to be the REAL you.” — Julianne Moore

"With occasional comic drawings and lots of humor regarding life as a dinosaur among humans (such as the scale of reptile farts), this romp is a balm for anyone who’s ever felt awkward in their own scales err, skin. . . . A wacky story of loyalty and self-discovery." — Kirkus Reviews

"With occasional comic drawings and lots of humor regarding life as a dinosaur among humans (such as the scale of reptile farts), this romp is a balm for anyone who’s ever felt awkward in their own scales err, skin. . . . A wacky story of loyalty and self-discovery." — Kirkus Reviews

"An endearingly quirky story about embracing oneself." — Publishers Weekly

"The amiable drollery of The Creature From the Seventh Grade carries it a long way." — The New York Times

"A funny, contemporary allegory about learning to like yourself, scales and all." — School Library Journal

"Balaban (better known as a longtime stage and screen actor) excels in creating a voice that's absolutely spot-on for a tween boy." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Seventh grader Charlie Drinkwater considers himself a loser at his school. He's small, doesn't play sports, gets picked on by the popular kids, and has an embarrassing middle name. When he suddenly begins to morph into a mutant dinosaur, his life begins to change. First, he learns that his grandmother was also a dinosaur. Then he is put on a four-day probationary period at school, and then the most popular girl at school begins to talk to him and even invites him to a party. Charlie is confused but flattered by his sudden popularity. He begins to lie to his longtime best friends, Sam and Lucille, about his actions and whereabouts. The only thing in Charlie's life that doesn't seem to change is the teasing and torture from the school bully. When friends, Sam and Lucille, finally catch Charlie in a lie, he feels horrible. Then he witnesses them sticking up for him against the school bully. Only then does Charlie recognize that standing up for who you really are is what is most important. With illustrations scattered throughout and some comic-book insertions, the story and format are somewhat reminiscent of the "Whimpy Kid" series. The writing is quite funny in the opening chapters, but the humor decreases as the predicable story unfolds. Reviewer: Jody Little
Kirkus Reviews
Charles is 12, unpopular, bullied, small and geeky--and to make matters worse, he's turning into a giant reptile. Charles relates, with wit and pathos, his Kafka-esque metamorphosis from angst-ridden pubescent to dinosaur. As his skin turns green and a tail sprouts, Charles is utterly dismayed, "Forget about being popular. At this point I would happily settle for human." His two best friends, Lucille and Sam, also outcasts, seem rather thrilled at Charles' change. He grapples with the difficulties of being a huge reptile, finding clothing and sitting at a desk problematic. Bizarrely, though, not only can he still talk, he still has his own voice. At school, despite continued bullying from his nemesis, Craig, Charles begins to enjoy celebrity status, and Amy, the most popular girl in the school, starts fussing over him. Charles gets utterly swept up in this new sensation and in so doing loses perspective on where his loyalties lie. When he's challenged to betray his best friends, Charles faces the monster inside himself. With occasional comic drawings and lots of humor regarding life as a dinosaur among humans (such as the scale of reptile farts), this romp is a balm for anyone who's ever felt awkward in their own scales err, skin. Charles' first-person narration reveals an anthropologist's eye for the social strata of middle school. A wacky story of loyalty and self-discovery. (Fantasy. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Many teens go through awkward physical changes in adolescence, but 12-year-old Charlie's changes are extreme: during science class he transforms into an eight-foot-tall mutant dinosaur. His family isn't surprised, though. Unbeknownst to Charlie, his grandmother was one, too. His oversize status has its pros and cons. His two best friends, Sam and Lucille, remain loyal. The Banditos, the cool kids' clique, suddenly want him in. The downside: bully and Bandito member Craig will do anything to keep him out, and Charlie's athletic older brother resents not being the star of the family. But now that Charlie doesn't look human, he's forced to contemplate how he feels as a human-and realizes he's spent too much time worrying about what other people think of him. When offered a chance to join the Banditos by betraying Sam and Lucille, he wavers, and then stands up for himself in an emotionally satisfying conclusion. Readers will relate to his evolution from insecure nerd to confident dino, aided by solid supporting characters in Charlie's parents and a caring science teacher. Balaban has a keen eye for both middle-school angst and the quiet moments that define Charlie's loving family. Rash's bold, full-page illustrations are spare but provide additional laughs. A funny, contemporary allegory about learning to like yourself, scales and all.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670012718
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/13/2012
Series:
Creature from the 7th Grade Series, #1
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The amiable drollery carries it a long way..."—New York Times Book Review

“An endearingly quirky story about embracing oneself.”—Publishers Weekly

“This romp is a balm for anyone who’s ever felt awkward in their own scales err, skin….A wacky story of loyalty and self-discovery.”—Kirkus Reviews

Julianne Moore
A very funny and insightful exploration of what it means to be the REAL you.
Whoopi Goldberg
Bob Balaban knows this world so well, you might think this actually happened to him. Read it and you'll see!
Henry Winkler
Bob Balaban does it all (really he does). He directs, acts and writes funny (really he does). In my opinion, this book is a monsterpiece.

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