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Book review: Third 'Creature from My Closet' is a Pinocchio-Dracula mash-up

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12 2013 4:15 p.m. MDT

Obert Skye is the author of The Creature from My Closet series. The third book in the series is Obert Skye is the author of The Creature from My Closet series. The third book in the series is "Pinocula." (Provided by the publisher)

PINOCULA: The Creature From My Closet, Volume 3,” by Obert Skye, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, $12.99, 244 pages (ages 8 and up)

Rob Burnside’s closet is not an ordinary boy’s closet. Creatures creep out and cause life changes everywhere.

Past creatures, Wonkenstein, a mash-up character of Willy Wonka and Frankenstein, and later Potterwookie, a cross between Chewbacca from Star Wars and the boy magician Harry Potter, mysteriously appeared, resulting in mischief to Rob, his family and his buddies.

Rob misses the adventure with Wonkenstein and Potterwookie, but conditions in middle school and his family are finally going well. Besides Janae, the girl next door, begins to notice him a little. All is peaceful until something stalks out of the closet again, full of “old laboratory supplies and books that dripped and smooshed together to produce small, living, mixed-up creatures.”

"Pinocula" is the third in the Creature from My Closet series by Obert Skye. (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)

The new creature is Pinocula, a mix of Pinocchio and Dracula, a lying vampire made of wood.

Pinocula refuses to stay hidden, and the first day of school appears in class claiming to be Rob’s cousin with an “eye condition” requiring dark glasses. The lying continues (a la Pinocchio) with special interest in locating a “decent coffin to rest in” (a la Dracula).

The lies and mystic notions — along with the consequences — heap on top of each other as Rob tries to defend Pinocula’s unruly behavior. There is also the problem of the obvious growth of Pinocula’s nose at each indiscretion.

Inner-evil workings cause Rob to feel strange as he reads the original tales of Pinocchio and Dracula to try to understand Pinocula. After a bite from a bat, he admits to feeling “like someone else.” Things are obviously out of control.

“Pinocula,” the third in the author's series, is told in journal-like entries and unsophisticated pencil sketches (more detailed that the previous two in the series) that extend the dialogue and expand the inner-voice of a middle school student whose pre-adolescent angst and over-imagination reach out to a world that the author refuses to take seriously. The humor and pithy exchanges will draw readers that like the format of picture and abbreviated text.

Obert Skye is the author the popular “Leven Thumps” series and the Pillage trilogy, which has recently been released as a three-in-one paperback. He lives with his family in Idaho.

If you go ...

What: Utah Humanities Book Festival presents Obert Skye

When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2 p.m.

Where: Salt Lake City Public Library, Story Room, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City

Web: www.slcpl.lib.ut.us, www.utahhumanities.org/BookFestival.htm, www.abituneven.com

Email: marilousorensen@ymail.com

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