SHOEBAG by Mary James
Kirkus Star


Email this review


From ""a popular young-adult author,"" a delightful fantasy about a cockroach who suddenly turns into a boy, leading to a clever reversal of Kafka's ""Metamorphosis"" and an amusing satirical view of human foibles. Like all his tribe, Shoebag was named for the site of his birth. At first, he is horrified when he discovers his new form; he's fond of his parents (Drainboard and Under the Toaster), and has a natural aversion to people--whom roaches convincingly describe as dirty and who regularly try to exterminate his family. However, Shoebag adapts: adopted by the Biddle family, in whose house he was born, he makes friends with the other misfits at school--including one Gregor Samsa, with whom he has a curious affinity. Meanwhile, he keeps in touch with his real family, protecting them as best he can from spider and cat. Ultimately, he even makes friends with self-centered little ""Pretty Soft"" Biddle, a child star who is virtually imprisoned by her premature career of making toilet-paper commercials. Then Gregor--who, yes, was also a cockroach--makes the big decision to stay human, and he passes on his ability to return to roachdom to Shoebag, who goes back at last to his loving family. A highly original stow crammed with clever detail, action, insight, and humor, all combined with impe ccable logic and begging to be shared--with class, family, or any available audience.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1990
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Scholastic