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|B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy)|
Author: Yolen, Jane
Tired of being picked on at school for being a "furrin Immigrant" because he is Jewish, twelve-year-old Sammy Greenburg learns the legend of the golem from his bar mitzvah coach, but discovers that friends--and forming a klezmer fusion band--can be better than magic in defeating bullies.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 157499
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 61134
Kirkus Reviews (-) (02/15/13)
School Library Journal (04/01/13)
The Hornbook (00/03/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/01/2013 With his potter father always looking for the ideal place to set up a kiln, Sammy Greenberg moves frequently. Ensconced in a new middle school, he becomes the brunt of bullying from James Lee and his eighth-grade gang—for example, his head is quite often inside the boys’ restroom toilet. It is a pleasant surprise when Skink (short for Skinner) enters Sammy’s grade. In his first Hebrew class, Sammy gets the idea of making a clay golem to protect Skink and himself from the bullies. Little do they know the adventures (good and bad) they will have after Gully (B.U.G.) comes alive, and through Gully, the boys learn the power of friendship and acceptance. In the end, Sammy must also take responsibility for destroying the golem. Yolen and Stemple weave a magical coming-of-age story that addresses the themes of bullying, friendship, good versus evil, first crushes, and making good decisions. Pair these with James Patterson’s series for middle-schoolers. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2013 Gr 4–7—Sammy Greenburg, 13, is tired of feeling scared and alone, and of being beaten up and tormented by a gang of bullies known as the Boyz. When he meets a new student who shares his interest in music, he is thrilled to have someone to call a friend. His joy is short-lived, however, when Skink is badly injured by the Boyz. Sammy decides that he and Skink need protection, so he creates a golem from clay, a mythical bodyguard from Jewish folklore. Gully soon becomes more than Sammy's protector; he becomes his friend. Despite warnings from his rabbi to destroy Gully before it's too late, Sammy revels in his newfound sense of security. While he is happier than ever, perceptive readers will sense danger ahead. A good amount of suspense is built into this story, but the plot drags at times. Readers will relate to Sammy's feelings of loneliness and frustration, but the other characters feel flat and underdeveloped. Most disappointing of all is the cringe-worthy dialogue, which seems much too young for both the characters and the intended audience. This is especially problematic when paired with advanced vocabulary and some violent content, as when one of the bullies attempts to kill him. While elements of this story may appeal to fans of magical realism, ultimately the slow pace and cheesy dialogue will disappoint most readers.—Liz Overberg, Darlington Middle School, Rome, GA - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.