Sunday May 6, 10:00 am
Presenting her book, You Will Call Me Drog
Genre: Fiction: children’s
Lerner Books/Carolrhoda Books; 2011
Paperback; $16.95; 288 pages; illustrated
Kindle: $9.99; Nook: $10.23
The book: Parker is a normal sixth grader—or he was normal before the puppet. It’s just an old hand puppet, sticking out of a garbage can, and even though Parker’s best friend says leave it, Parker brings the puppet home and tries it on. Or maybe it tries him on. “You will call me Drog!” the puppet commands once they’re alone. And now, no matter how hard Parker tries, he can’t get Drog off his hand.
Drog is sarcastic, cruel, unpredictable, and loud—everything Parker isn’t. Worse yet, no one believes that Drog—not Parker—is the one saying the outrageous things that get Parker into trouble. Then Drog starts sharpening his snarky wit on the most fragile parts of Parker’s life—like his parents’ divorce. Parker’s shocked, but deep down he agrees with Drog a little. Perhaps Drog is saying things Parker wants to say after all.
Maybe the only way to get rid of Drog is to truly listen to him.
“. . .Drog is the anti-Pinocchio of middle school. He tells the truth! But reader beware: DROG is hard to put down. A laugh out loud story about a sassy puppet and the boy who gloved him. (Sorry, Drog made me do it!!)”
—John H. Ritter, author of The Boy Who Saved Baseball
“In Cowing’s unusual debut, a premise R. L. Stine would love. . . is turned into a surprisingly affecting story about a boy struggling to master his emotions. . . . Drog is arrogant, rude, and caustic—but it isn’t long before Parker begins noticing good things happening as a result of the puppet’s interference. … There is nothing else out there quite like this, and Cowing shifts fluidly from sensitive drama to startling violence to high comedy (Drog has a thing for belly dancers). A unique look at speaking your mind; as Drog says, ‘You’re nothing without a voice.’”
“Title-character Drog gives new meaning to the phrase ‘hand-puppet’ as he attaches his ancient self to a bewildered boy in this inventive tale of puppetry and empowerment.”
—Richard Peck, author of A Long Way from Chicago, Newbery Award Honor Book and National Book Award finalist
“Strange, Creepy, Amazing! Parker’s life is a blend of everyday reality and complete, unexplainable weirdness. All he wants is to find a way to be himself.”
—Kathleen Duey, author of Skin Hunger, National Book Award finalist
“I loved this book because it engaged my emotions. And that’s why I read, to be moved, to be touched. This book doesn’t need glitz. It stands on its own. Loved it.”
—Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood-Red Sun.
“A solid debut.”
“If this were a book for adults, the puppet on Parker’s hand would likely go on a ghoulish rampage, with the boy naturally getting the blame. But this story from the start has echoes of the series ‘Goose Bumps’ – slightly scary mystery/horror stories that are nevertheless safe for the middle school audience; kids can empathize with Parker’s personal nightmare without having bad dreams of their own.”
—Paul Eide, The Puppetry Journal
Sue Cowing grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, but she now lives and writes in Honolulu. Her first love was poetry. She has published two books of poetry, Fire In the Sea: An Anthology of Poetry and Art, which she edited, and My Dog Has Flies: Poetry for Hawaii’s Kids, a collection of her own, humorous poems. She currently writes primarily children’s fiction and has published poems and stories in Cricket and Spider magazines. You Will Call Me Drog is her debut children’s novel.
Cowing’s other works:
Fire in the Sea: An Anthology of Poetry and Art; University of Hawai‘i Press; 1996
My Dog Has Flies: Poetry for Hawaii’s Kids; BeachHouse Publications; 2005