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A nifty cultural mashup for young boys
on September 3, 2012
As a big Harry Potter fan, I was curious to see how this children's chapter book included such a popular series and combined it with another cultural phenomenon. Any fan of either series can appreciate the nice references to the two: Potterwookie - a.k.a. Hairy - speaks with a British accent and doesn't smell very pleasant. And the overall story is really satisfying if the reader is looking for a Potter / Star Wars cultural mashup.
Potterwookie is the second in the series "The Creature From My Closet." (I have not read the debut story, Wonkenstein, that combines Frankenstein with Willy Wonka). Apparently throwing stuff in your closet for storage, along with a science kit, has the unique ability to create various literary combination characters. The owner of the closet, Robert, tells the story of his adventures with these creatures and his new enjoyment for the books from whence these creatures came. It's a nice way to encourage young people, mostly boys I would imagine, to seek out and read books, but the actual creation of the character does not serve as the crux of the story. In fact, it's all rather matter-of-fact, setting the scene for some rather typical school adventures to which most young people can relate. Here you get the usual stuff: friendships, bullies, family, crushes, and (of course) attempting to get on the most bizarre cooking show ever, sans the younger brother.
As an adult reading this aloud to my young daughter, who was only moderately interested at the best of times, I found the story somewhat humorous and a little entertaining. My daughter and I enjoyed the rough drawings throughout that illustrate Robert's points, such as his skeleton jumping out of his skin. I wasn't really sure how I felt about this book initially, and it took a few days for the reason to hit me: it is so different from any of the children's chapter books I read as a child. I read books such as Indian in the Cupboard, Harriet the Spy, etc. Potterwookie is a totally different kind of beast, quite literally, though I can easily see how this type of book would appeal instantly to today's pop culture-obsessed young people.