King of the Creeps

Steven Banks, Author . Knopf $15.95 (169p) ISBN 978-0-375-83291-8

How does a skinny, frizzy-haired nerd from New Jersey manage to win a few minutes of fame as well as a pretty girl? The answer can be found in this hilarious account of improbable events. Here, Banks, former head writer for SpongeBob SquarePants , takes readers back to 1963 to meet self-proclaimed "creep" Tom. As the story opens, the hero is considering jumping off the George Washington Bridge: "I had a good reason. I was seventeen years old. At seventeen everybody has at least one reason. I had about a hundred and forty." But instead of making a splash in the Hudson River, Tom decides to try his hand at guitar-playing and folksinging after he sees a picture of Bob Dylan and decides the two of them look alike. Most of the action takes place in Greenwich Village, where Tom buys his first guitar, learns one chord and meets "a real live Greenwich Village girl," who encourages Tom to put her poetry to music. One thing leads to another; Tom books his first gig at a coffeehouse and ends up getting invited to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show . While baby boomers will be more apt to appreciate references to the era (as when Tom has a run-in with singer Tiny Tim) than contemporary teens, readers will still find plenty to chuckle about as they trace Tom's whirlwind trip in and out of the spotlight. Ages 12-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 06/05/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Mass Market Paperbound - 250 pages - 978-0-553-49474-7
Library Binding - 169 pages - 978-0-375-93291-5
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