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Clarence Cochran, A Human Boy Hardcover – March 31, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


“Clarence is a brave soul who dares the wilds of the carpet, befriends fleas to get past the dog, and develops a sweet, quasi-romantic friendship with the human girl . . . . Monochromatic line-and-wash illustrations in a tempered Quentin Blake-like style add a cute factor and help scaffold imagination.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Readers will cheer resourceful Clarence and his staunch mom in this humorous adventure story and enjoy viewing the roaches’ miniature world as depicted in Anne Wilsdorf’s black-and-white drawings.” —Washington Parent

“This is a story about friendship and seeing beyond appearances, but Loizeaux’s tiny human has a unique perspective that may bring new understanding about the importance of all species, even one as unpopular as Clarence’s.” —School Library Journal

“Loizeaux paints an entertaining picture of the slovenly Gilmartin family and the bounty that their kitchen provides to the local cockroach community . . . . Wilsdorf’s black-and-white drawings amplify the humor of the text while highlighting specific action and amusing details.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Fun fare for the whole fam.”Fuse # 8 Blog 

About the Author

WILLIAM LOIZEAUX is the author of Wings, winner of an ASPCA Henry Bergh Award and a Golden Kite Honor Book for Fiction. He lives in Hyattsville, Maryland. ANNE WILSDORF has illustrated many books, including Two Sticks by Orel Protopopescu, selected as a Best Children’s Book of the Year, Bank Street College. She lives in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374313237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374313234
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,859,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Loizeaux's first novel for adult readers, The Tumble Inn, is now available. Born and raised in New Jersey, he worked summers as a road department laborer and a greenkeeper's assistant. He went to college at Colgate University and graduate school at the University of Michigan. For many years, while living near Washington, DC, he wrote in the mornings and painted houses in the afternoons. In fiction and nonfiction, he explores the fundamental human dramas--birth, love, and death--as they occur in particular places and times. After the death of his first daughter, he published the memoir, Anna: A Daughter's Life, a 1993 New York Times Notable Book. A second memoir, The Shooting of Rabbit Wells, about the killing of a high school classmate by a local policeman, came out four years later. And while his second daughter was growing up, he wrote two novels for children, Clarence Cochran: A Human Boy and Wings, which received the 2006 ASPCA Henry Berg Children's Book Award and was the 2006 Golden Kite Honor Book for Fiction. His essays and stories have appeared in venues such as The Christian Science Monitor, The American Scholar, TriQuarterly, The Massachusetts Review, The Gettysburg Review, and in a number of anthologies. He lives with his wife in Boston, where he is Writer-in-Residence at Boston University.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was a juvenile novel about a cockroach that turns into a boy and communicates with people to save his family and friends from being exterminated. I picked this to read because we had gotten the book into my elementary school library a few months ago and I hadn't been able to get anyone to check it out. I thought if I read it, I'd be able to talk it up.

Unfortunately, it didn't thrill me. While the writing is fine and the characters are cute (well, for if you can call roaches cute)--but are we really expected to feel sympathy of these roaches that scuttle all over the kitchen and crawl in the human's food. And when they poop on the silverware and make the daughter sick . . . Well, sorry but I wouldn't want them in my kitchen. The part that bothered me the most was that the humans only felt sympathy for the cockroaches because one of them looked human. In addition, I never really did get how he became human in the first place . . . . Sorry, but this book didn't do it for me.
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Format: Hardcover
The Cochran family had to share their home with the Gilmartin family, which at times wasn't all that pleasant. They were a small, but weird family of three. There was Kathryn, Larry and Mimi, their daughter. Now cockroaches aren't always fond of human families, but let's face it we all have to get along. Cockroaches just have to put up with people if they want to eat and they got plenty of food from these first class slobs. The Cochran family was a bit larger, but very close knit. Clarence's parents, Edith and Ralph, were proud of there three boys Clarence, Stephen and Ralph. "Clare-ence? I don't hear you stirring up there!" His Mom was a real sweetheart. Hey, but wait a minute . . . there was something wrong with him.

My word, there was a really strange body inside a "pair of boxer shorts" and it sure didn't belong to a Cochran. "I think something's happened to Clarence . . . he doesn't look right." His mother was about to go into hysterics. Your darn tootin' something was wrong. Clarence had turned into a little weensy boy. Dr. Blatt was called and even Reverend O'Coccus said a prayer over his sorry looking body. The Gilmartins were on a warpath and Mayor Grimes called a "Red Alert." The garbage disposal darn near at his pal Willie and the Roach Motel claimed his brother Floyd. Mimi was kind of a funky girl, but she was their only chance. Was there anything that could be done to prevent the exterminator from coming to destroy the rest of his family? Clarence Cochran had to try or die!

This story was just the kind that will tickle your funny bone big time. I loved Clarence and his family and was genuinely sorry when his brother Floyd died (so was his mother Edith). If you really want to know if cockroaches and people like the Gilmartins can get along, you'll just have to read this book. If you don't know what happened it's going to bug you for weeks!
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Format: Hardcover
Cockroaches = icky. And they have few true defenders. They are associated with the worst aspects of mankind. Mess. Filth. Atom bombs (as in, they an survive them). So it seems kind of funny that they'd get their own can't-we-all-just-get-along tale in the form of Clarence Cochran: A Human Boy. William Loizeaux has come up with a pretty fun concept. We adults are all familiar with Kafka's The Metamorphosis, yes? Man goes to bed one day and wakes up to find he has become a giant cockroach. Well, Clarence Cochran takes an opposite tack. Cockroach wakes up one day to find himself a tiny human boy. But instead of moping about like Gregor Sampsa, Clarence has the intelligence and wherewithal to put his new body to use. The result is an early chapter book about perseverance, chutzpah, and good old-fashioned conflict resolution. Early chapter books are rare beasts in and of themselves so it's nice to find one that grabs life by the horns and refuses to let go.

Clarence was pretty sure that something was wrong right from the start. He woke up in his regular crevice, the one he slept in every day. His parents and siblings were up before him, no surprises there. There was one little difference he couldn't help but notice the minute his eyes looked down at his body. Clarence had gone to sleep a cockroach. He had woken up a very tiny cockroach-sized boy. More than a little disturbed, his family calls in a doctor who immediately demands that the boy be quarantined with his mother. None of this old friends reach out to him either.
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