Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys

Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys

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by Francesca Lia Block
     
 

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Once there was a slink-chunk,
slam-dunk band called The Goat Guys

Cherokee Bat danced and sang. Witch Baby, Cherokee's almost-sister, pounded the beat on her drums. Raphael played the guitar, and Angel Juan kept the rhythm on his bass. They made music that sparkled like fireworks, and audiences loved them.

But with success

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Overview

Once there was a slink-chunk,
slam-dunk band called The Goat Guys

Cherokee Bat danced and sang. Witch Baby, Cherokee's almost-sister, pounded the beat on her drums. Raphael played the guitar, and Angel Juan kept the rhythm on his bass. They made music that sparkled like fireworks, and audiences loved them.

But with success came power, and power was a dangerous thing. Cherokee and The Goat Guys were swept up in it-and soon it was threatening to destroy them.

Until Cherokee realized that it was up to her to save them all . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of Weetzie Bat and Witch Baby will be delighted with this latest opportunity to reenter Block's magical vision of Los Angeles. With the grown-ups who make up the Bat household off making a film in South America, Cherokee and her ``almost-sister'' Witch Baby are left to their own devices. The adventure begins when Cherokee, acting on the advice of the family's mystic friend Coyote, makes a pair of wings for Witch Baby in order to lift her from the deep, mud-eating gloom into which she has fallen. Raphael and Angel Juan--the two other members of The Goat Guys, the rock band Cherokee and Witch Baby have formed--soon have magical costumes, too. But as the band's fame grows, the costumes exert a corrupting influence on the teenagers. The band's gradual immersion in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll certainly is enthralling but many readers will be relieved when the group finally decides to abandon the dangerous activities that have clouded its members' individual roads to self-discovery. And much to her credit, Block's satisfying ending suggests that Weetzie Bat and her extended family--true to their characters--take the teenagers' experimentation and rebellion in stride. This latest effort provides yet another delicious and deeply felt trip to Block's wonderfully idiosyncratic corner of California. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8-12-- Zany characters, pop culture, the California scene, and finely crafted language combine to tell an emotionally charged story with a contemporary message. Cherokee Bat and al most-sister Witch Baby are left behind when their parents go to South America to make a film. When Witch Baby stops eating and starts withdrawing into herself, Cherokee has to save her. Nothing seems to work until Angel Juan, Witch Baby's special childhood friend, returns from Mexico. Enlisting another friend on guitar, the four start a band, the Goat Guys, but only with the help of mystical powers does it become a hit. Success, however, has a price, and every thing begins to fly apart in wild and outrageous ways. Block has once again created a brief but entertaining and involving story. Her characters are odd, but somehow enchanting. Readers come to care about them in their childlike inno cence. The story isn't didactic, but illustrates the importance of family, friends, love, caring for the natural world, and maintaining order in the spiritual world. The fairy-tale quality of the book, its contemporary scene, and its modern language will appeal to teen readers, particular ly those who have enjoyed Weetzie Bat (1989) and Witch Baby (1991, both Harper Collins) .-- Gail Richmond, Point Loma High School, San Diego

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780785707974
Publisher:
Demco Media
Publication date:
06/28/1993
Series:
Weetzie Bat Series
Product dimensions:
4.14(w) x 7.24(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Cherokee Bat loved the canyons. Beachwood Canyon, lined with palm trees, hibiscus, bougainvillea and a row of candles lit for the two old ladies who had been killed by a hit-and-run, led to the Hollywood sign or to the lake that changed colors under a bridge of stone bears. Topanga Canyon wound like a river to the sea past flower children, paintings of Indian goddesses and a restaurant where the tablecloths glowed purple-twilight and coyotes watched from among the leaves. Laurel Canyon had the ruins of Houdini's magic mansion, the country store where rock stars like Jim Morrison probably used to buy their beer, stained-glass Marilyn Monroes shining in the trees, leopard-spotted cars, gardens full of pink poison oleander and the Mediterranean villa on the hill where Joni Mitchell once lived, dreaming about clouds and carousels and guarded by stone lions. It also had the house built of cherry wood and antique windows where Cherokee lived with her family.

Cherokee always felt closer to animals in the canyons. Not just the stone lions and bears but the real animals-silver squirrels at the lake, deer, a flock of parrots that must have escaped their cages to find each other, peacocks screaming in gardens and the horses at Sunset Stables. Cherokee dreamedshe was a horse with a mane the color of a smog -sunset and she dreamed she was a bird with feathers like rainbows in oil puddles. She would wake up and go to the mirror. She wanted to be faster, quieter, darker, shimmering. So she ran around the lake, up the trails, along winding canyon roads, trying not to make noise, barefoot so her feet would get tougher or in beaded moccasins when they hurt toomuch. Then she went back to the mirror. She was too naked. She wanted hooves, haunches, a beak, claws, wings.

There was a collage of dead butterflies on the wall of the canyon house where Cherokee lived with her almost-sister Witch Baby and the rest of their family. At night Cherokee dreamed the butterflies came to life, broke the glass and flew out at her in a storm, covering her with silky pollen. When she woke up she painted her dream. She searched for feathers everywhere---collected them in canyons and on beaches, comparing the shapes and colors, sketching them, trying to understand how they worked. Then she studied pictures of birds and pasted the feathers down in wing patterns. But it wasn't until Witch Baby began to bury herself that Cherokee decided to make the wings.

Witch Baby was Cherokee's almost-sister but they were very different. Cherokee's white-blonde hair was as easy to comb as water and she kept it in many long braids; Witch Baby's dark hair was a seaweed clump of tangles. It formed little angry balls that Witch Baby tugged at I with her fingers until they Pulled right out. Cherokee, who ran and danced, had perfect posture. Witch Baby's shoulders hunched up to her ears from yearsof creeping around taking candid photographs and from playing her drums. Cherokee wore white suede moccasins and turquoise and silver beads; Witch 'Baby's toes curled like snails inside her cowboy-boot rollerskates and she wore an assortment of what ever she could find until she decided shewould rather wear mud.

One day, Witch Baby went, into the backyard, took off all her clothes and began to roll around in the wet earth. She smeared mud everywhere, clumped handfuls into her hair, stuffed it in her ears, up her nostrils and even ate some. She slid around on her belly through the mud. Then she slid into the garden shed and lay there in the dark without moving.

Cherokee and Witch Baby's family, Weetzie Bat and My Secret Agent Lover Man, BrandyLynn Bat and Dirk and Duck, were away in South America shooting a movie about magic. They had left Cherokee and Witch Baby under the care of their friend Coyote, but Cherokee hated to bother him. He lived on top of a hill and was always very busy with his chants and dances and meditative rituals. So Cherokee decided to try to take care of Witch Baby by herself. She went into the shed and said, "Witch Baby, come out. We'll go to Farmer's Market and get date shakes and look at the puppies in the pet store there and figure out a way to rescue them." But Witch Baby buried herself deeper in the mud.

"Witch Baby, come out and play drums for me," Cherokee said. "You are the most slinkster-jamming drummer girl and I want to dance." But Witch Baby shut her eyes and, swallowed a handful of gritty dirt.

Cherokee heard Witch Baby's thoughts in her own head.

I am a seed in the slippery, silent, blind, breathless dark. I have no nose or mouth, ears or eyes to see. Just a skin of satin black and a secret green dream deep inside.

For hours, Cherokee begged Witch Baby to come out. Finally she went into the house and called the boy who had been her best friend for as long as she could remember--Raphael Chong Jah-Love.

Raphael was practicing his guitar at the house down the street where he lived with his parents, Valentine and Ping Chong Jah-Love. Valentine and Ping were away in South America with Cherokee and Witch Baby's family working on the movie.

"Witch Baby is buried in mud!" Cherokee told Raphael when he answered the phone. "She won't come out of the shed. Could you ask her to play drums with us?"

"Witch Baby is the best drummer I know, Kee," Raphael said. "But she'll never play drums with us."

Raphael and Cherokee wanted to start a band but they needed a bass player and a drummer. Witch Baby had always refused to help them.

"Just ask her to play for you then, just once," Cherokee begged. "I am really worried about her."

Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys. Copyright © by Francesca Block. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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