You Will Call Me Drog

You Will Call Me Drog

4.0 4
by Sue Cowing
     
 

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Parker is a normal sixth grader—or he was normal before the puppet. It's just an old hand puppet, sticking out of a garbage can, and even though Parker's best friend says leave it, Parker brings the puppet home and tries it on. Or maybe it tries him on. "You will call me Drog!" the puppet commands once they're alone. And now, no matter how hard Parker tries,

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Overview

Parker is a normal sixth grader—or he was normal before the puppet. It's just an old hand puppet, sticking out of a garbage can, and even though Parker's best friend says leave it, Parker brings the puppet home and tries it on. Or maybe it tries him on. "You will call me Drog!" the puppet commands once they're alone. And now, no matter how hard Parker tries, he can't get Drog off his hand. Drog is sarcastic, cruel, unpredictable, and loud—everything Parker isn't. Worse yet, no one believes that Drog—not Parker—is the one saying the outrageous things that get Parker into trouble. Then Drog starts sharpening his snarky wit on the most fragile parts of Parker's life—like his parents' divorce. Parker's shocked, but deep down he agrees with Drog a little. Perhaps Drog is saying things Parker wants to say after all. Maybe the only way to get rid of Drog is to truly listen to him.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
In Cowing's unusual debut, a premise R. L. Stine would love—an ugly green puppet attaches itself to an 11-year-old's hand and won't come off—is turned into a surprisingly affecting story about a boy struggling to master his emotions. Parker finds the puppet in a trash dump, and after its first words ('You will call me Drog'), it refuses to shut up, stirring up chaos in school and at home, where his divorced parents begin worrying that Parker is mentally disturbed. Drog is arrogant, rude, and caustic—but it isn't long before Parker begins noticing good things happening as a result of the puppet's interference. Drog is not quite as outrageous as readers might hope, and the book feels overpadded with incident. That said, there is nothing else out there quite like this, and Cowing shifts fluidly from sensitive drama to startling violence to high comedy (Drog has a thing for belly dancers). A unique look at speaking your mind; as Drog says, 'You're nothing without a voice.'" —Booklist
Children's Literature - Sue Poduska
Centered around eleven-year-old Parker and an ugly puppet, this story is a metaphor for kids looking for an excuse to act out and yet working towards solving deep-seated problems. Parker is a good kid who has never even been sent to the school counselor. He and hiswith a friend, Wren, find a puppet in a junkyard. When Parker slips the puppet on his hand in spite of Wren's bad feelings, the puppet starts talking on his own. Parker is unable to remove the puppet and must wear it all the time. He discovers that his father, divorced from his mother and with a new family, must now pay attention to him and share his own experiences. Parker also finds a home and a new philosophy at an aikido dojo, where he makes friends with and helps the class big kid. The themes are universal, and the author shows that we all have issues with which we need help. The puppet, however, is a bit creepy. Not everyone will enjoy this story. Reviewer: Sue Poduska
School Library Journal
Gr 4�6—This first-person narrative begins with 11-year-old Parker reminiscing about the day that he and his friend Wren were wrapping up a productive day of junkyard scavenging. While she thinks the bald, green-faced puppet she finds is creepy, Parker is intrigued by its creative possibilities. When he slips the puppet on his hand, it says, "You will call me Drog," and Parker can't get it off, no matter how hard he tries. It's difficult enough trying to hide a puppet stuck to his hand at school, but Drog also has the habit of saying exactly what's on his mind whenever he pleases. While this candor causes Parker's class to laugh hysterically, it also earns him his first trip to the counselor's office and then a psychologist's. Eventually, military school is in his future if he can't figure out how to get rid of his puppet. The protagonist has a rather introspective and mature voice for his age, and his positivity and struggle to find his way make him likable. A subplot about a man with a notebook spying on Parker doesn't quite work, but the suspense and creepiness at the beginning evolve into a thoughtful coming-of-age story.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

The principles and practice of Aikido—and a talking sleeve puppet that won't let go of his hand—help a lad come to terms with suppressed anger over his parents' divorce.

Parker wrongly (or perhaps rightly) considers himself a "pretty happy, pretty ordinary kid" until the decrepit hand puppet he finds in a garbage can not only refuses to come off but delivers ill-tempered insults, often in the hearing of others. The refusal of his parents, his sixth-grade classmates and even his best friend Wren to believe that "Drog" has a mind of its own trigger outsized bursts of rage. Parker finds temporary peace in practicing the inner balance and (accurately presented, if a little too easily learned) harmonizing responses to attacks he picks up at a nearby school of Aikido. Eventually, though, he loses control of his temper and soundly thrashes a bully. Parker's shame ultimately leads to a breakthrough and better self-control. The puppet plays a secondary role to the martial art in resolving Parker's conflict, and though Cowing's efforts to keep who's really doing the talking ambiguous are too obvious, she engineers a cleverly credible way to separate boy and puppet at the end.

Readers might wish for more Drog and less emotional turmoil, but a sturdy debut nonetheless. (Fiction. 11-13)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781467732239
Publisher:
Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Series:
Fiction - Middle Grade
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

What People are saying about this

Kathleen Duey
Strange, Creepy, Amazing! Parker's life is a blend of everyday reality and complete, unexplainable weirdness. All he wants is to find a way to be himself. (Kathleen Duey, National Book Award finalist)
John H. Ritter
What a great book! Drog is the anti-Pinocchio of middle school. He tells the truth! But reader beware: DROG is hard to put down. A laugh out loud story about a sassy puppet and the boy who gloved him. (Sorry, Drog made me do it!!) (John H. Ritter, author of The Boy Who Saved Baseball)
Graham Salisbury
. . . I'm going to keep it simple. I loved this book because it engaged my emotions. And that's why I read, to be moved, to be touched. This book doesn't need glitz. It stands on its own. Loved it. (Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood-Red Sun)
Kathi Appelt
This is a riveting read, one that will stay with you long after the covers are closed. (Kathi Appelt, National Book Award finalist)
Richard Peck
Drog gives new meaning to the phrase 'hand-puppet' as he attaches his ancient self to a bewildered boy in this inventive tale of puppetry and empowerment. (Richard Peck, National Book Award finalist)

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