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Book review: The 2nd 'Creature From My Closet' appears

Published: Monday, Oct. 29 2012 5:28 p.m. MDT

"POTTERWOOKIEE: The Creature From My Closet, Vol 2," by Obert Skye, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, $12.99, 241 pages (f) (ages 9-12)

Of all Rob’s problems (siblings, friends, bully at school and the cute girl next door) his closet is the biggest worry. He believes it is because the chemistry set shoved in the closet is leaking onto all those books people have given him to read, causing strange creatures to mysteriously appear. He calls it the Drip Theory.

The latest creature the closet disgorges is a small very smelly cross between Chewbacca from "Star Wars" and Harry Potter. Rob calls him “Potterwookiee,” Hairy for short. Hairy seems to be helped by the new heavy closet door that stays shut after Hairy’s appearance.

Keeping Hairy hidden becomes another problem since he can’t be carried around in a backpack. Once when he was hidden in the beanbag chair, it was accidently tossed into the garbage (Rob and his friend Trevor barely dug him out of the truck before he was crushed). Hairy’s smell is a dead giveaway wherever he is.

Rob and Trevor find the way to break Hairy’s secret with Harry Potter’s “Undoing” spell, then the creature begins using powers against the school bully and to levitate the family car. When Rob enters the Average Chef Cooking Contest, Harry again helps him out.

“Potterwookiee” includes school adventures and a group of unique buddies with unending energy, usually resulting in mischief such as when they build a catapult and launch dozens of unwrapped ice cream sandwiches. But Rob is the real hero of “Potterwookiee” with the fears, angst and desires of a middle-grader that readers can relate to.

The story is told in his journal (“I have to keep writing stuff down … I’m not even getting a grade for all these words”) and rough almost child-like animated sketches. He admits to learning a lot such as the fact that books are way better than movies.

“Potterwookiee” is the second "Creatures From My Closet" saga, following “Wonkenstein,” a literary mashup of Willy Wonka and Frankenstein. This series — following the format of the popular Wimpy the Kid — will be a winner with middle-graders, especially boys who like to read about “stuff” in their own lives and can laugh about it.

Obert Skye is the author of the popular “Leven Thumps” series and the Pillage Trilogy. He lives with his family in Idaho.

Email: marilousorensen@ymail.com

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