When Human Technology Doesn’t Work, There’s The Creature Department
The Creature Department: Robert Paul Weston
Review by Casey Cook
The Creature Department is cute story by Robert Paul Weston that could be considered a Dr. Seuss novel, with its made up words and creatures like Knottub (the opposite of a button) and arachnimammoth (a hairy elephant with eight legs). Then there are the creatures like Gügor, the loveable Knucklecrumper and Chief of Rickum Ruckery and Harrumphrey Grouseman, the Right-Hand Head (since he is just a head with legs).
The story follows the crazy adventure of two twelve year olds, Elliot—the nerdy kid in a green fishing vest—and Leslie—the gothic new girl in town. These two have a very strange connection to one another: they both have a family member that knows about the top secret Research and Development (R&D) Department at DENKi-3000.
Elliot’s Uncle Archie von Doppler has been hiding something big from his nephew (and the rest of the world). Archie von Doppler works in the top secret R&D Department at the widely known DENKi-3000 (known for inventing technological advances such as the Electric Pencil with Retractable Telescopic Lens and TransMints—a wireless breath mint that gets its freshness from downloaded information). The only thing more amazing than the inventions coming from DENKi-3000 are the workers creating them, the creatures.
The creatures at the R&D Department are the kind of creatures Leslie only ever seen in movies or books. Leslie has moved around all her life because of her wanderlust obsessed mother, but somehow ended up in Bickleburgh with her grandpa, Famous Freddy who owned Famous Freddy’s Dim Sum Emporium. In this abandoned restaurant, Leslie tries to figure out how her grandpa makes a living when no one ever came in to eat. What she discovered was that Famous Freddy had one important customer, the Research and Development Department at DENKi-3000.
Together, Elliot and Leslie must work together with the creatures to save DENKi-3000 from being taken over by the evil Quazicom. The only way to save DENKi-3000 is to invent something amazing and with the help of the Creature Department and Professor von Doppler, these two children must learn the ways of creaturedom (the creature equivalent to humanity) to put together the inventions that never seemed to work in the human world.
While this book didn’t capture my full attention, it did keep the story interesting and fun to follow along. This book is geared toward children and that is evident throughout the book. In the following scene, Professor von Doppler invited Elliot and Leslie to see the inside of the R&D building (of which no one was ever allowed to go inside except for the Chief of Research and Development himself aka Professor von Doppler):
“Hm…” The professor was still stroking his chin. “So perhaps he didn’t ruin the surprise after all.”
Elliot stomped his foot on the carpet. “WHAT SURPRISE?!”
Finally, his uncle looked at him.
“Maybe it’s best if I simply show you.” The professor opened a drawer and took out an enormous key ring, jiggling with a hundred keys of different shapes and sizes.
They left the professor’s office in silence, and he led them down the corridor to the second-to-last door on the left. Two faint letters were embossed on its brass plaque: CD…“In here,” [the professor] whispered, “is where the magic really happens.”
Although I’m not one for a perfectly happy ending (of which this book has), Weston was able to keep me guessing as to what was going to happen throughout the book. Also, how can you go wrong with a book that glows in the dark? The Creature Department is a quick and fun read for all ages and has unique characters as well as a developed plot. Weston includes a lot of the political aspects of running a business as well, like how the shareholders hold meetings to determine the fate of DENKi-3000. Weston is able to use his creative knowledge as well as his intelligence to bring together something childish and something mature (but mainly childish) to create a story entertaining for everyone.
With its fun attitude and crazy characters, The Creature Department is the perfect book to read while relaxing at the beach or in the dark with the glow in the dark cover!
Check out the book HERE!
Author Bio: Robert Paul Weston
I have been employed in a host of strange occupations, all of which I eventually eschewed in order to tell stories for a living (or try). Among my oddest jobs were: an editor with a small-press literary magazine (odder than it sounds); a trampolinist (not as odd as it sounds); and a dub-script writer for imported Japanese cartoons (odd). There have been a lot of parenthetical asides in this paragraph.
Here is my best shot at professionalism: I have an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and I’ve published short fiction in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. My stories that have been nominated for the Journey Prize and the Fountain Award for Speculative Literature.