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B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy)

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Sammy Greenberg would rather talk back to The Boyz--a gang of bullies at his school--and get his head stuck in the toilet than constantly be afraid. But when his friend Skink gets beaten up so badly that he has to go to the hospital, Sammy thinks he may be in over his head. He decides to build a golem--a mythical protector from Jewish folklore, made of clay and animated by the ineffable name of God. But this monster doesn't just protect him and Skink from The Boyz, he is ...
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B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy)

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Overview


Sammy Greenberg would rather talk back to The Boyz--a gang of bullies at his school--and get his head stuck in the toilet than constantly be afraid. But when his friend Skink gets beaten up so badly that he has to go to the hospital, Sammy thinks he may be in over his head. He decides to build a golem--a mythical protector from Jewish folklore, made of clay and animated by the ineffable name of God. But this monster doesn't just protect him and Skink from The Boyz, he is also a great drummer for their rock-jazz-klezmer fusion band! But golems come with warnings. They will protect you until they don't.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Krisan Murphy
Everything you ever wanted to know about golems (and more) is revealed in this book, ideal for middle school boys who are being bullied. Sammy Greensburg has many reasons to be singled out by members of the Boyz group of thugs at his school. For one, he has got a quick, sarcastic tongue, and second, unlike most of his classmates, he is Jewish, and among other things, he has no friends. He has no friends, that is, until Skink arrives at the school and bonds with Sammy in the brotherhood of being bullied. Sammy and skink along with Julie—lunchroom friend and secret crush of Sammy— soon realize that they share a love of music. Their unusual style is a fusion of jazz, pop, and klezmer. In Sammy's efforts to thwart the bullies at school, he forms a golem out of clay (a.k.a. Big Ugly Guy) and it comes to life—solving one problem and creating many more. Readers, especially boys, will eagerly delve into the antics and deliberations of Sammy and learn the many ways to deal with bullies. Reviewer: Krisan Murphy
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Sammy Greenburg, 13, is tired of feeling scared and alone, and of being beaten up and tormented by a gang of bullies known as the Boyz. When he meets a new student who shares his interest in music, he is thrilled to have someone to call a friend. His joy is short-lived, however, when Skink is badly injured by the Boyz. Sammy decides that he and Skink need protection, so he creates a golem from clay, a mythical bodyguard from Jewish folklore. Gully soon becomes more than Sammy's protector; he becomes his friend. Despite warnings from his rabbi to destroy Gully before it's too late, Sammy revels in his newfound sense of security. While he is happier than ever, perceptive readers will sense danger ahead. A good amount of suspense is built into this story, but the plot drags at times. Readers will relate to Sammy's feelings of loneliness and frustration, but the other characters feel flat and underdeveloped. Most disappointing of all is the cringe-worthy dialogue, which seems much too young for both the characters and the intended audience. This is especially problematic when paired with advanced vocabulary and some violent content, as when one of the bullies attempts to kill him. While elements of this story may appeal to fans of magical realism, ultimately the slow pace and cheesy dialogue will disappoint most readers.—Liz Overberg, Darlington Middle School, Rome, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Some books are impossible to describe. Saying that B.U.G. is a teenage version of the golem legend would make it sound like Twilight-era supernatural fiction. And saying that the golem plays drums in a fusion band would make it sound like the Archies. In a way, this is a story about bullies. Sammy Greenburg and his friend Skink get beaten up several times before the end of the novel, so it starts to make sense for Sammy to build a golem who will protect him. At times, the story feels less like a fantasy than an old-fashioned problem novel, about fights and crushes and sitting alone at the lunch table--and as a coming-of-age story, it's very involving. Once in a while, the book also turns into a musical about a teen band. This is unfortunate. Sample lyrics: "But power when it's not in check / Can leave your life an awful wreck, / Turns success right into drek." The genre finally doesn't matter. It's a story about a boy in trouble. It's funny and scary and thrilling and--like most versions of the golem story--deeply sad. The Jewish legend works surprisingly well as a story about bullying. But there may be moments when readers scratch their heads and say: The golem is playing the drums? (Yiddish glossary) (Fantasy. 8-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525422389
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 3/21/2013
  • Pages: 328
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century. She has written over 300 books, been given six honorary doctorates in literature, and won numerous awards.

Adam Stemple is an author and professional musician. He and Jane have co-authored several stories together.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2013

    Hmmmm

    Looks like a good book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy) by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple Dutton Chil

    B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy) by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
    Dutton Children's Books, 2013
    Realistic Fiction with a splash of Fantasy/Folklore
    Recommended for grades 4-8
    344 pages




    Sammy is bullied.  Badly.  The fact that he always has a snarky comment on his lips doesn't sit well with the lead bully, James Lee.  After one too many dunks in the toilet, Sammy would do anything to not be James Lee and the Boyz' target.  One evening at Hebrew lessons Sammy notices a book on the Rabbi's shelf.  The book is about golems.  Sammy knows a golem is made of clay and protects the creator.  Stealing the book, Sammy decides to make his own golem.
    The relationships between Sammy and the friends he makes, the golem he creates, and the bullies he fears, feel very natural, despite the fact that one of the above is made from clay.
    I love the words Sammy uses.  As he uses a good word, either spoken or in thought, he often thinks to himself how cool the word is, usually defining it, giving young readers lots of exposure to high level vocabulary throughout the story-and not in a preachy way!
    I loved this story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    B,UG¿ B,U , G

    Aswame

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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