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CLARENCE COCHRAN, A HUMAN BOY by William Loizeaux

CLARENCE COCHRAN, A HUMAN BOY

By William Loizeaux (Author) , Anne Wilsdorf (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-31323-4
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Clever reimaginings of classics generally rely on awareness of the originals for at least part of their appeal (and most of their humor). That would seem to spell trouble for this reversal of The Metamorphosis. Still, even kids unfamiliar with Kafka’s work are likely to enjoy this tale of a young cockroach whose inexplicable transformation into a tiny human boy enables him to save his family from a dreadful death at the hands of an exterminator. Loizeaux paints an entertaining picture of the slovenly Gilmartin family and the bounty that their kitchen provides to the local cockroach community—until the unthinkable happens, and the family catches sight of them. How Clarence copes with his change, the suspicious distaste of his former friends and the threat that faces them all will capture kids’ interest. Clarence’s ultimate victory, gained by writing a heartfelt plea to Mrs. Gilmartin, isn’t entirely convincing, but readers will be pleased at his success. Wilsdorf’s black-and-white drawings amplify the humor of the text while highlighting specific action and amusing details. (Fantasy. 9-12)