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Katfish (Creature from My Closet Series #4)
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Katfish (Creature from My Closet Series #4)

4.3 7
by Obert Skye

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Rob Burnside's life is in ruins. After his escapades with Pinocula and his resulting outrageous lies, everyone is fed up with him. In this Creature from My Closet book by Obert Skye, Rob needs help. And his science laboratory closet is there to give him a hand. Meet Katfish, a mashup of Katniss from the Hunger Games and the Little Mermaid. This girl is strong as


Rob Burnside's life is in ruins. After his escapades with Pinocula and his resulting outrageous lies, everyone is fed up with him. In this Creature from My Closet book by Obert Skye, Rob needs help. And his science laboratory closet is there to give him a hand. Meet Katfish, a mashup of Katniss from the Hunger Games and the Little Mermaid. This girl is strong as nails and sports a tail.

Everyone at Rob's school is excited about an upcoming riff on the Hunger Games created by Principal Smelt: the Fun-ger Games. Rob is less excited because the principal and his mom have roped him into participating. But Katfish is sticking around to help Rob out with girl advice, Fun-ger Games tips, and how to get people to stop hating him. What could go wrong?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Quite funny and has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. . . . The idea of a hybrid Willy Wonka/Frankenstein character is original and hilarious.” —School Library Journal on Wonkenstein

“Highly amusing new series starter. . . . Skye gives Rob a self-deprecating charm and highlights the pleasures of books both subtly and effectively.” —Booklist on Wonkenstein

“Filled with spot-on commentary and a wince-inducing supporting cast, middle grade guys won't be able to keep Wonkenstein to themselves. . . . This pitch-perfect offering should appeal to reluctant readers, not to mention the legion Wimpy Kid fans.” —Shelf Awareness on Wonkenstein

Children's Literature - Kate Szegda
Rob Burnside endures routine middle-school miseries: embarrassing parents who want him to read, snarky siblings, barf, rejection. But Rob has a strange accomplice: his closet. In the fourth offering of the “Creature from My Closet” series, Rob’s closet concocts another hybrid storybook character. This time the character is a full-sized girl. Katfish is a cross between Katnis Everdeen and The Little Mermaid’s Ariel. Thanks to all the lying he did in book three, Pinocula, Rob is on everyone’s black list. The list is long: his family, his wannabe sweetheart, and every student at Softrock Middle School. Oh, and Principal Smelt too. Luckily, Rob’s guy friends are still speaking to him; and when they meet Kat, they are mesmerized—setting off a rash of hair combing, tooth brushing, and general fixing-yourself-up-to-impress-a-girl behavior. They even resort to reading Hunger Games to learn more about her. But nothing works. Kat is on a quest to find “the one.” And “the one” is Rob, who helps Kat become the singing mermaid, Katfish. Katfish helps Rob win back the school, his family, and his crush. Drawing from The Wimpy Kid school of adolescent humor, scenes like a drenching water balloon mishap, a food fight at the family dinner table, and a clever parody of “The Fun-ger Games,” should appeal to reluctant and enthusiastic readers alike. The line drawings are reminiscent of doodles middle school boys draw when they should be taking notes. Engaging cartoons, quick dialogue in speech squares, and generous white space break up text segments, make this book an inviting, independent read. Reviewer: Kate Szegda; Ages 9 to 12.

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Creature from My Closet Series , #4
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt



I know, I know—I blew it. Seriously, my life has become the kind of sticky mess that other sticky messes probably gross out about.

Most of the people in my life won’t even talk to me at the moment or acknowledge that I exist.

Sadly, being so disliked doesn’t mean I can stop writing down or doodling what I’m going through. I would love to be buried by a big pile of leaves or blankets and left alone for the rest of my life, but there are things I have to do.

I used to have no interest in books, and I definitely had no desire to write or draw things from my life for scientific purposes. But the world needs to know about my closet and what it can do. So despite being disliked by almost everyone I know at the moment, I must keep writing.

My life is in ruins. I’ve let my parents down.

My older sister, Libby, hates me just as much as ever.

Janae, the girl I’ve been crushing on for years, won’t even look at me. I could change my style completely and she still wouldn’t glance my way.

Even my little brother, Tuffin, doesn’t look up to me anymore.

Yes, things are uncomfortable. It feels like the time my dad did the laundry and accidentally shrunk all my clothes.

The worst part is that there’s nobody to blame but me. I made this mess by lying to all of them about a lot of things. I told them that our school dance was going to be televised and that they were all going to be filmed. I told them they were going to be famous, but in the end, they were just embarrassed. I let everyone down and ruined our first school dance. Principal Smelt gave me detention for fooling everyone.

I don’t think there’s a single teacher or student at Softrock Middle School who isn’t upset with me. Even the school announcements are painful.

One of the hipster kids at my school even suggested that we change the pledge.

I wanted to explain to everyone that Pinocula had been the cause of most of the trouble. But the things that came out of my closet weren’t really public knowledge, and even if I wanted to spill the beans, Pinocula had returned to the closet and I had no proof of what had gone down.

In an effort to shame me even further, my mom threw an apology party so people could come to our house and I could publicly say I’m sorry. It was a horrible idea. Luckily only one person came—and it wasn’t even someone I needed to apologize to. It was just Rex, the homeschooled boy who lived two streets over. He’d heard from someone that there was a party, so he showed up.

He thought it was a birthday party and gave me a gift. I was excited until I opened it.

Rex’s mom taught yoga and was big-time into nature stuff. Last summer when Tuffin and I had been playing out in the front yard, she came over and insisted we put on a bunch of homemade sunscreen she had made in her kitchen. I didn’t want to, but she stood there until we spread it all on.

It was super sticky and smelled like eggs. We could barely move once it was on. As soon as she left, Tuffin and I ran back and jumped in our swimming pool to wash it off. We splashed and swished, but it didn’t come off easily and it made the surface of the pool all oily and yellow. Which was pretty embarrassing when Janae’s older sister looked over the fence to see what all the splashing was about.

If you want to know the truth, I blame my closet for most of the mess I’m in. It used to be just a nice, normal walk-in closet without a door.

When I was a kid I wanted to have a science lab in it, but the only things my mom would let me experiment with were ketchup and mustard and old supplies around the house. All ketchup and cleaning supplies could really make was a mess. So I began to use my closet as a place to hide all the books my mom tried to make me read.

In time my closet became a big, sticky, booky mess. It might have remained that way forever if it hadn’t been for my dad. I like my dad most of the time. He always wears a suit and a tie, and he’s always super happy. He sells playground equipment for a living and loves his job. He also loves garage sales, and a while back, he found an odd door at a garage sale and brought it home. He put it on my closet, where it fit perfectly.

At first I didn’t like the closet door. It was old and unusual. It had a dumb sticker on it that I couldn’t get off. It was super heavy and hard to open. But the worst thing about the door had to be the doorknob. It was brass and on the knob there was a face of a little bearded man I decided to call Beardy.

Sometimes Beardy’s eyes seem to wink at me, or he changes his expression to show he’s disappointed.

I don’t know exactly what happens behind my closet door when Beardy locks up, but my theory is that the old ketchup and cleaning supplies drip through the books and bring mixed-up things to life. Wonk was the first to visit, followed by Hairy, then Pinocula. And I’m pretty certain that my closet will produce something new soon, seeing how Beardy has remained locked tight for days. My hope is that it’s some character big and amazing enough to help me frighten my enemies just a little.

I know it’s weird to feel this way, considering all the trouble they caused, but I miss Wonk and Hairy and Pinocula. Their personalities and stories have made my life much more interesting. But now they’ve gone. The only reminder I have of them is the three things they’ve left behind. Three things that might just help me someday.

I keep Wonk’s cane and Hairy’s scarf on top of my dresser. As for the bat/cricket that stayed behind after Pinocula left, I have no idea where he is right now. I’m also not sure how these things they left behind will ever help me. It’d be nice to think that wherever Wonk, Hairy, and Pinocula are, maybe they’re working on an idea to make my life clearer.



Friday morning I woke up happy. Not because everyone was nice to me again, but because we didn’t have school. I guess the teachers were having meetings about stuff they didn’t want the students to know.

I don’t care what they talk about as long as it means I get to stay home. I wanted to go hang out with my friends, but as usual my mom had other plans for me.

I tried to tell my mom how important friendship is to kids, but she wasn’t buying it. She gave me a list of things that she thought would help me feel better about the lies I recently told.

The one task on the list I didn’t mind doing was the first item. Our fat dog, Puck, and my uncaged, pooping bird, Fred, were the only living things in my house that were nice to me. Puck spent more time in my room, and Fred hadn’t pooped on anything of mine in days. Neither of them seemed the least bit upset.

The last item on my list of chores was to take a few books over to Aunt Betty’s house. Aunt Betty is really rich, but for some reason she’s always borrowing books from my mom instead of buying them herself. My sister says it’s because she spends all her money on important things—like fake hair and nails. I usually don’t mind if my aunt borrows stuff because both she and my mom have weird taste in books, but this time my mom was lending her one I cared about.

I didn’t necessarily care about clean sheets or tickling, but I did have some interest in the Hunger Games books. After I saw the first movie, everyone kept insisting there were tons of other cool things in the book that had been left out of the film. So last week without being forced, I read book one.

Now I had started book two, but my mom was letting Aunt Betty read the final book in the series. My aunt was kind of a slow reader, and I knew that when I needed it she probably wouldn’t be done. Which meant I would have to wait, and waiting was not something I usually enjoyed. To me waiting was worse than having to eat something really disgusting.

I put the books in an old grocery bag and left my house. I wanted to walk with better company than just myself, so I ran across the street to Trevor’s to see if he was home. Nobody at my school wanted anything to do with me, but my five friends—Teddy, Aaron, Rourk, Jack, and Trevor—hadn’t completely turned their backs on me.

Trevor is my best friend. His glasses are always crooked and he’s too glass-half-full sometimes, but he’s my favorite person to hang out with. He’s an only child and way into books and movies. He’s dorky, but he doesn’t do some of the dumb things my other friends do.

When I got to his house, Trevor was out front helping his mom wash her car. He wasn’t allowed to come with me to my aunt’s house until he was finished, so I decided to help.

It wasn’t that bad a job until Trevor’s mom told me that the rags we were using were actually cut-up pairs of old underwear Trevor’s dad used to wear.

I didn’t want anything to do with cleaning things with anyone’s skivvies, so I operated the hose for a while. After the third time of accidentally squirting Trevor’s mom, she excused us so we could go to my aunt’s house.

Thankfully, Trevor changed his car-washing clothes. We then cut through the alleys and over into the far neighborhood back by the empty church and the Mexican restaurant with the plastic burro on the roof. Trevor was taking Spanish in school and had recently become interested in Spanish culture.

I said yes just so he’d stop talking. We crossed the busy road and worked our way through the unknown alleys by the dog park. While walking through the park, I thought I saw something following us. Every time I turned around, however, nobody was there.

It seemed like I was still a bit unsettled from having used someone’s old underwear. On the other side of the dog park, there was a golf course, and next to the golf course was the gated community where my aunt lived.

Who knows why some neighborhoods are gated and some aren’t. If I had to guess I’d say that someone somewhere felt like they lived too close to Jack and Rourk to not have some sort of protection around their houses. My aunt had given me the code for the gate, so I punched it into the panel and we entered the neighborhood.

I liked Posh Peaks. I don’t know why it was called this, seeing how there were no peaks. I wasn’t sure what posh meant, but as usual Trevor knew.

The houses in Posh Peaks were big and old. They had tons of trees and fancy little waterfalls and streams in their front yards. Trevor and I talked about my situation as we walked. I asked him if everyone at school was still angry with me, and he said,

I asked him if Janae had said anything about me, and he said,

I asked him if it was something good, and he said,

I felt horrible about Janae. I had lied to her about the dance and had tricked her into going with me. Then to make things even stickier, she had kissed me on the cheek right before I confessed to all my lies. I felt pretty certain she would never talk to me again.

Trevor was almost as confusing as girls. My aunt’s house was located at the far end of the Posh Peaks neighborhood. It was big and fat and looked like it had eaten a couple of other houses to get so huge. We walked up a stone path to a large front door. The doorbell had a little golden angel on it.

I think Beardy would love the doorbell. I pressed the button, and it chimed loudly. Before the ringing stopped, my aunt answered the door in workout clothes and holding a large cup. It was really the only way I had ever seen her look. It seemed like she was always working out and drinking water.

I gave her the books, and she invited us in for a glass of water. As we walked into the house I thought I saw something behind one of the bushes in my aunt’s front yard.

After we had two huge glasses of water, we left my aunt’s house and began the walk home. I kept looking around to see if maybe Jack or Teddy had followed us, but there was no sign of anyone.

So Teddy was out, but something was following us. I felt uneasy. It reminded me of my Thumb Buddies. Thumb Buddies were small, decorated thumbtacks that used to be sold to kids. They stopped selling new ones years ago due to the fact that too many kids got poked and stabbed by them. You could still find them at Thumb Buddies conventions or online, but no stores sell them. My friends don’t know, but I still collect them. Three days ago I found one of the rarest Thumb Buddies on eBay.

It was quite a find. My Thumb Buddies didn’t make me feel uneasy, but the Thumb Buddies board game did. I didn’t like how bad I felt whenever I picked a bad Pin Pal card.

I hated to be sent to the carpet. I also hated the feeling of someone following me and Trevor.

Copyright © 2014 by Obert Skye

Meet the Author

Obert Skye is the author and illustrator of the Creature from My Closet series: Wonkenstein, Potterwookiee, and Pinocula. He has also written the bestselling children's fantasy adventure series Leven Thumps and the Pillage trilogy.

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Katfish 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 12 days ago
Kiss your hand three times then post this on three diffrent books then look under your pillow and their is a iphone 5 their
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amen! You tell her!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hunger games I want to win I win it all I want to win all day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a girl and i hate hate hate you boys! Espeshiwuly YOU! :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago