Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #41: The Creature Department

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #41: The Creature DepartmentThe Creature Department by Robert Paul Weston
Published by Razorbill on November 5, 2013
Genres: Adventure
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
AmazonThe Book Depository

A hidden laboratory…

A brilliant invention…

A team of quite unusual creatures…

But can they save the department?

Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world’s fifth-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.

Recommended by: Blythe of Finding Bliss in Books

Huh, well, okay. Sometimes I love middle grade, and sometimes it misses the mark with me, though it would likely be utterly delightful for the intended audience of children. Basically, I think some authors write children’s books imagining that the whole family could enjoy them together, and others write books for young readers to absorb on their own. The Creature Department strikes me as one of these, so it was cute but didn’t do anything special for me.

Though I generally hate comparisons to other books, I can’t resist it here. The Creature Department has a lot in common with Roald Dahl’s Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. Elliot and Leslie get a tour of the R&D department of DENKi-3000, headed up by Elliot’s uncle. The department’s totally secret and no one has ever been allowed in, but in the face of the company perhaps being purchased by Quazicom, they’re learning the secret. Unlike Willy Wonka, DENKi-3000 staffs not oompa-loompas but creatures. The rest of the story is pretty different, but the basic premise is straight up Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.

Then add in a dose of Monsters, Inc. when we meet the creatures staffed at DENKi-3000. The creatures are quite lovable, most of them, and as varied in design as those in the Pixar movie. The accompanying illustrations of the monsters are sure to delight young readers as well. Kids love stories about strange creatures, so this will totally be a win.

I really don’t have anything to say against The Creature Department. It does what it does well, but I’m so not the ideal audience. But, if you have kids who love Monsters, Inc. and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this is probably a super safe bet.

Favorite Quote:

SPIES!” screeched Monica Burkencranta. She paused, a little confused, and leaned across the table to get a closer look at [Elliot and Leslie]. “Very. Tiny. Spies.”

Up Next:

A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness.

The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Both Steph (Cuddlebuggery) and Bekka (Pretty Deadly Reviews) recommended this one, so I hope I love it, so I can still hang with the cool kids.

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out the following form with a suggestion! For more details, check this post.

7 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #41: The Creature Department”

  1. This book look cute and I love Monsters, Inc. but I think this is a bit too young MG for me. The whole Charlie and the Chocolate factory with monsters instead of oompa-loompas sounds great for younger children 🙂
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 211. Patrick Ness – More than this.My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, I mean, it’s perfectly fine so far as I can tell, but it’s not one with a ton of clever jokes for adults to enjoy. If I were a kid, it might have been the best though. *shrugs*

  2. While this is the most adorable cover ever, it doesn’t really sound like a book I’d pick up. I’m not the biggest middle grade fan anyway, though I always want to love them because of the cute.
    Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews recently posted…Stacking the Shelves and the Sunday PostMy Profile

  3. Also YAY A Monster Calls! Prepare your feels!
    Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews recently posted…Stacking the Shelves and the Sunday PostMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      The cover is wondrous, but I really should restrict my middle grade almost entirely to epic fantasy. Those seem to work best.

      *girds emotional loins in preperation*

  4. Heather says:

    I absolutely love this cover! I also love Monsters, Inc and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so I think I may need to try this out.

    Also, I totally get your comment about things being marketed to younger readers and, perhaps, not to a whole family reading together. That’s how I felt about Artemis Fowl: great for kids, but maybe not so great for grown ups 🙂

  5. Love the cover and think this one would work well for my boys. Sounds a bit too young middle grade for me personally but to read to them sounds fun!
    Dana (Little Lovely Books) recently posted…Right NowMy Profile

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