From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up–The creator of SpongeBob SquarePants and the Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius comic-book series has written a novel that reads like a comic book without pictures. At 17, Tom Johnson is a nerdy guy who wishes he were cool. The book takes place in New York City in 1963, at the time of the Kennedy assassination, beatniks, and the folk scene. Discovering that he looks like a folksinger, the teen pretends that he is one. Then, a slew of coincidental events whirl him through the story. In the end, he gets a gig on The Ed Sullivan Show
and gets what he wanted most–a girlfriend. Characterization is not Banks's strong suit. All of the male figures in the story sound exactly alike. Even Tom has been created with the broad strokes of a cartoon character, but with slightly more complexity. Even so, King of the Creeps
is a quick and enjoyable read. Reluctant readers and those who favor comedy or who are into graphic novels should especially enjoy it.–Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 6-9. Tom is short and skinny, with frizzy hair and a big nose--today's basic creep. But in 1963, frizzy hair and a big nose are cool--as long as they belong to folksinger Bob Dylan, whom the girls love. Tom quickly realizes Dylan's "creep" mystique and capitalizes on it by buying a guitar, and, after learning one chord, "becoming" a folksinger. During his whirlwind two-day run, he meets a girl who writes poetry, performs in a club, and stars on the Ed Sullivan
Show--through serendipity rather than talent. Not all readers will get the 1960's references (Andy's Factory, for example, may mean nothing to them), but they definitely create the right atmosphere: the Kennedy assassination, racism, and the increasing political divisions between generations. Tom's narration sounds naive for his 17 years, but his shift from using his guitar to get girls to using it to make a difference is a nice touch. This book wants to be funnier than it is, yet it does succeed as a light story with weighty undertones. Krista HutleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved