The Doom Machine

The Doom Machine

3.2 4
by Mark Teague
     
 

Bestselling writer/illustrator Mark Teague presents a witty, vivid novel about Jack and Isadora, two kids who discover a spaceship and are taken aboard by aliens who plan to take over the Earth!

When a spaceship lands in Vern Hollow, Jack's hometown, he and his no-account inventor-uncle Bud are busy trying to fix a car driven by Dr. Shumway and her daughter,

Overview


Bestselling writer/illustrator Mark Teague presents a witty, vivid novel about Jack and Isadora, two kids who discover a spaceship and are taken aboard by aliens who plan to take over the Earth!

When a spaceship lands in Vern Hollow, Jack's hometown, he and his no-account inventor-uncle Bud are busy trying to fix a car driven by Dr. Shumway and her daughter, Isadora. Although Uncle Bud secretly knows the aliens are after one of his inventions, everyone is surprised when the space aliens capture seven of Vern Hollow's residents and take them into outer space on a wild adventure. . . . (more)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Picture book author/illustrator Teague (Dear Mrs. LaRue) has produced a madcap, heavily illustrated tale chockfull of malevolent aliens and superscience as well as a fair share of silliness. The year is 1956 and young Jack Creedle is a good-natured juvenile delinquent who can work wonders with engines, while his disreputable Uncle Bud may just be the world’s greatest inventor. Equally brilliant are Isadora and her straitlaced mother, Dr. Shumway (“A lady scientist!” remarks the mayor of Jack’s town after the Shumways are stranded there. “That’s something you don’t see every day”). When alien skreeps, led by Commander Xaafuun (who hates “ooman bings”), invade in search of Bud’s most recent invention, Jack and Isadora are caught up in a rollicking interstellar adventure, replete with a crew of space pirates, a deposed princess, a wide variety of monsters and a pugnacious rooster named Milo (“Growing up had made the chicken mean. He was a typical Creedle in that way”). Borrowing wildly from pulp fiction, bad movies and even Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, Teague has a wonderful time with this occasionally disjointed but endlessly inventive first novel. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Jack was delivering papers when he saw the flying saucer. Dr. Isadora Shumway heard about the alien invasion on the radio. "Such nonsense," she complained. "I don't know why you say that, Mother," said her daughter, Isadora. "Your own research proves that advanced space flight is possible." The three have no idea that in a few short hours they, along with Jack's Uncle Bud, a mysterious hobo, Sergeant Webb and his son, Grady, will be scooped up by a nine-foot-tall spider and dragged aboard the alien ship. It turns out the aliens are eager to get their hands on Uncle Bud's invention, which looks like a refrigerator, but is really a dimensional field destabilizer designed to create holes in space that take travelers wherever they need to go. With the destabilizer, the Skreeps can open wormholes in time and space and have easy access to planets (like Uurth) just ripe for the picking. Isadora, a super smart African-American girl and Jack, a boy whom trouble always finds, are an unlikely duo, but with a bit of help from an assortment of vividly imagined creatures and a ooman being or two, the pair are determined to rescue Uncle Bud and Isadora's mother from the clutches of the Skreepian queen and find a way to save Uurth. This wild ride through the far reaches of the universe is recommended and not to be missed. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
VOYA - Rachel Wadham
On a dark morning of 1956 in the small town of Vern Hollow, former juvenile delinquent Jack Creedle watches a space ship land in the woods. The ensuing mayhem reveals that Jack's Uncle Bud has created a machine that makes holes in space and time, and the spider-like aliens have arrived to steal it. When Jack, Bud, the sheriff, the sheriff 's son, a scientist stranded in town while traveling, and her daughter are taken along with Bud's machine, they begin a quest that spans across the universe to prevent the machine from being used to help carry an army intent upon destroying earth. Illustrator Teague turns to fiction in his first novel where increasingly sensationalistic coincidences lead from one ridiculous situation to another. Although such a plot progression could have utterly failed, amazingly here it works perfectly as homage to many classic examples in literature, movies, and television. Even though there is near constant tension that leads to a quick climax, readers will be drawn in by the stunning cast of characters both alien and human with wonderfully distinct personalities. With an environmental theme that is so subtly woven in that it may be overlooked by the sheer force of the mind-bending plot that touches on theories of time travel, this book is filled with humor and dramatic figurative language that makes the setting completely approachable. It is a great fit for science fiction, humor, and adventure genre fans. Reviewer: Rachel Wadham
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Teague doesn't hold anything back in his first full-length novel. Readers are treated to some of his classic storytelling elements including inquisitive kids, aliens of many varieties, and interesting gizmos. In 1956, Jack Creedle is just beginning his paper route when a flying saucer passes overhead and lands nearby. A week later Vern Hollow is mostly deserted when Isadora Shumway and her mother, a highly respected scientist, arrive there as their car gives out. Jack repairs it and he and the Shumways attempt to leave town with Jack's Uncle Bud. Of course, all four of them are captured by the alien skreeps, giant spiderlike beings from a vast and cruel empire. As in any epic, these heroes journey across strange landscapes, face difficult choices, receive unexpected help, and eventually triumph with their new allies. The author subtly weaves in commentary on the skreeps, who think only of themselves and who leave entire worlds barren in order to enjoy their resources. Teague's signature artwork livens up an already gripping story. This isn't hard science fiction, but talk of wormholes and other science fits the story well. It's a great story with engaging characters and a good deal of humor.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Kirkus Reviews
A small band of more-or-less ordinary Earth humans takes on a galactic empire in Teague's first full-blown novel (Funny Farm, 2009, etc.). When the Dimensional Field Stabilizer that Uncle Bud has cooked up in his small-town garage draws a flying saucer full of piratical, spiderlike skreeps, young Jack Creedle and a handful of other residents and passersby suddenly find themselves captives, hurtling through time and space toward Planet Skreepia and (eventually, after many adventures) a climactic dustup with the Skreep Queen. Details in the story, which is set in 1956, and the occasional spot or full-page illustrations add a retro tone to the tale, as do the many pulp-magazine-style furry, chitinous or rubbery aliens met along the way. Though the author gives most of the active roles to the grown-ups, leaving Jack and his science-crazy new friend Isadora largely observers, his feeling for oddball characters and twists recalls Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday (2007) and should draw the same audience. (Science fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545151429
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
985,540
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.26(d)
Lexile:
610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Mark Teague is an award-winning children's book author and illustrator whose books include the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling How Do Dinosaurs... series, the LaRue series, FIREHOUSE!, FUNNY FARM, and many other humorous picture books. Mark lives in New York state with his wife and their two daughters.

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The Doom Machine 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The year is 1956, and Jack is a good-natured, former juvenile delinquent who is great at fixing machines, particularly cars. One morning while out delivering papers, Jack notices a spaceship land in the woods. When a group of spider-like aliens attack his house and try to steal one of his uncle's inventions, chaos ensues. In the process, Jack, his uncle, Bud, the sheriff, the sheriff 's son, a scientist stranded in town while traveling, and her daughter are taken along with Bud's machine. The aliens have discovered that his uncle's machine is not a refrigerator but a dimensional field destabilizer, a device that can rip holes in space in order to venture wherever the traveler wants to go. With this device, the aliens hope to easily access Earth and destroy it. Will Jack and his companions escape in time to stop the aliens from destroying Earth? An action-packed science fiction adventure. The characters are entertaining and well-developed. The plot is gripping and fun to read. Readers who like aliens, science fiction, adventure, and apocalyptic stories will enjoy reading THE DOOM MACHINE.
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