B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy)

B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy)

5.0 3
by Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple
     
 

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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

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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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It’s funny and scary and thrilling”—Kirkus

"Yolen and Stemple weave a magical coming-of-age story that addresses the themes of bullying, friendship, good versus evil, first crushes, and making good decisions."—Booklist

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:
03/21/2013
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.32(h) x 1.13(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“It’s funny and scary and thrilling”--Kirkus

"Yolen and Stemple weave a magical coming-of-age story that addresses the themes of bullying, friendship, good versus evil, first crushes, and making good decisions."--Booklist

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