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The Creature Department Series, Book 1
Cover of The Creature Department Series, Book 1
The Creature Department Series, Book 1
"Stunning...a bit like if you took Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Monsters Inc. and shoved them in a TARDIS." —Buzzfeed It's a tentacled, inventive, gooey, world in there. . . . Elliot...
"Stunning...a bit like if you took Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Monsters Inc. and shoved them in a TARDIS." —Buzzfeed It's a tentacled, inventive, gooey, world in there. . . . Elliot...
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  • "Stunning...a bit like if you took Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Monsters Inc. and shoved them in a TARDIS." —Buzzfeed

    It's a tentacled, inventive, gooey, world in there. . . .

    Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world's eighth-largest electronics factory.

    Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there's a rambling old mansion from which all the company's amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what's behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.

    Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.

    They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth. Tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly. And huge, hulking, hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they've ever seen.

    But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn't presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it's up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, "employees" to create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 7, 2013
    Weston’s whimsical novel meanders too much to become the sort of Roald Dahl tribute it suggests. Elliot von Doppler is the son of two food critics who are also appallingly awful cooks. When Elliot’s uncle Archie—head scientist at embattled local tech company DENKi-3000—invites him and fellow science fair competitor Leslie for a tour of the company, they discover that the secret to its innovations lies in the titular Creature Department. The 12-year-olds meet an assortment of bizarre creatures, including “expectorator operator Gabe, who “resembled a soft brown flagpole (with a potbelly)”; French vampire-fairy engineer Jean-Remy; and giant, dreadlocked, salamanderlike Gügor. After the parade of creatures, the core plot—preventing a hostile takeover of DENKi-3000—takes center stage, as the humans and creatures work frantically to create an invention that will make the company relevant again. Weston (Dust City) has perhaps too much fun with the goofy creations and creatures, while the corporate takeover storyline comes across more like an excuse for the monsters to exist than a plot in its own right. Art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists.

  • Kirkus

    October 15, 2013
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Monsters, Inc. in this tale of two preteen geeks who help to save a local business from a (very) hostile takeover. Thanks to inventions like refreshing, wireless TransMints, DENKi-3000 is the fifth-largest tech firm in the world. But its secretive research-and-development department, run by Elliot von Doppler's enigmatic uncle Archimedes, hasn't produced in so long that the shareholders are on the verge of accepting a takeover bid from equally secretive Quazicom. Elliot discovers the reason for the hush-hush when he and new friend Leslie Fang take a private tour of the company headquarters and discover that DENKi-3000's R&D is staffed not by humans but by Creatures ranging from a diminutive French fairy-vampire to a more sizable and aptly dubbed "bombastadon," among many diverse others. Moreover, it later turns out that Quazicom is likewise owned by Creatures--malign Ghorks armed with both Taser-equipped security droids and the ability to shoot high-velocity boogers. Weston crafts a suspenseful if predictable plot that culminates in a wild melee and the unveiling of an awesome new invention, but the Creaturely cast (developed in collaboration with CGI studio Framestore) elbows both the human one and the storyline aside here to take center stage. A literal Creature feature, with plenty of cinematic and digital spinoff potential. (illustrations, webpage and app still under development) (Fantasy. 10-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2013

    Gr 4-7-Twelve-year-old Elliott and his friend Leslie discover the secret behind a corporation's amazing inventions: all of the products were created by a group of fantastical "creatures" that include a security guard with a face that's "part walrus, part English bulldog," a tiny batlike fellow with a French accent, and other intriguing personalities. The children quickly befriend the creatures and join in on their invention projects. Meanwhile, the clandestine inventors are menaced by the evil schemes of corporate raiders in league with a much-less-friendly brand of monster. The premise of the mysterious creatures has solid appeal; so do the descriptions of their personalities and physical features, aided strongly by plentiful black-and-white illustrations. Full-page cartoon drawings open each of the 31 chapters, plus dozens of smaller images sprinkled throughout, lending extra life and humor to the characters, especially the creatures themselves, and the mystery behind what's threatening them isn't strongly compelling, but does include a couple of neat twists. Evil schemes and battle scenes are more funny than perilous, peppered with wisecracks and bits of amusing grossness, such as shots of giant snot globs. As lead characters, Elliott and Leslie are disappointingly ordinary; they are chosen to help the creatures by Elliott's scientist uncle, but neither one seems particularly interesting or unique. The creatures are the main appeal, though, and their antics, coupled with the strong visuals, will attract readers who enjoy imaginative, slightly silly fantasies.-Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Robert Paul Weston
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