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Shoebag (Apple Paperbacks) Paperback – June 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Apple Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (June 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590430300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590430302
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6 --In a nifty twist on Kafka, a la Metamorphosis , this "popular young-adult author" asks readers to imagine the revulsion a cockroach might feel at having been suddenly transmuted into a boy. She introduces Shoebag (named for his birthplace), erstwhile insect-son of Drainboard and Under The Toaster. Adopted by the Biddles (in whose house he has always been a resident, however undesirable), renamed Stuart Bagg, poor Shoebag confronts the unknown worlds of humanity and school. Although now large enough to exterminate roach predators that prey on his extended family, Shoebag discovers his new incarnation carries no killer mentality. He bands together with other social outcasts in the cafeteria, and soon their mutual need becomes their collective strength. Shoebag learns that being human has advantages, but he still longs for the form he sees in the mirror--his real self. Still, friendships with others are rewarding and a growing relationship with his human sister, Eunice "Pretty Soft" Biddle--the protected, isolated, insulated star of toilet tissue commercials--is enlightening to them both. When given a chance to return to roachdom, Shoebag assumes cerci and antennae with scarcely a look back, scampering off to the figurative bosom of his family. His departure leaves Pretty Soft discovering herself to be Eunice at last, sure of her image without benefit of mirrors, ready to face reality. Unusual (to say the least), amusing, engaging, and gripping, Shoebag has its lessons carefully hidden in its rather unique plot, and will surely leave its readers surreptitiously cancelling parental appointments with the exterminator and carefully hiding tidbits in inconspicuous corners for the benefit of Shoebag's extended clan. A romp. --Patricia Manning, Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Cute imaginary story about bugs for any age group!
Ottosmom
I read this book as a child, and happened to come cross the title again and thought it would be an great book to have in my collection.
Amazon Customer
No matter how many years I have read this to different sixth grade classes, they all love it!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 10, 2013
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
No matter how many times I have been assigned a group of sixth graders, I read this to them.

No matter how many years I have read this to different sixth grade classes, they all love it!

As an adult who reads two or three books a week, I would not find this plot appealing, though. However, as a person who is constantly around children, I find this book one of my essential book stash requirements because it does entertain younger kids.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Karen Hilbert on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book about a roach who ends up wishing himself human and becoming
a boy. He still feels and thinks like a roach despite his changed appearance. The family he lives with is very funny, with Miss Pretty Pretty being his new sister. Roaches see humans much the way we see them, dirty and not so smart. Shoebag is his roach name. Roaches are named according to where they are born. It is quite adventure for Shoebag being a boy and the events leading to a very satisfying ending. There is a sequel to this book but I did not like it nearly as much. Enjoy this great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Schueler on May 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our tutoring progam was blessed with enough copies for each student to have one while the adult reads the copy purchased through AMAZON aloud. This is the first time we have done this and what a great book SHOEBAG was to start with. The story of a roach that turns into a boy has humor and drama, captivating the adults as well as the third graders. Our weakest readers intently follow along word for word. Yesterday, reading the chapter about Shoebag's encounter with a bully, you could have heard a pin drop. Stepping on a bug will never be done lightly again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I teach reading to seventh graders. This book is a big hit with my reluctant readers! I get a little upset when the elementary teachers read it to their classes because that action leaves me without a great book to teach. Although easy to read, there's some "meaty" stuff in here that leads to great class discussions and a memorable reading experience for my students.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 3, 2002
Format: School & Library Binding
Out of the seventy-five books, I've read this year, counting last year altogether. My most favorite book is Shoebag. The author is Mary James. There was a boy who became a cockroach and was adopted by the Biddles. Pretty Soft is a Tiolet Paper commerical girl. I will rate this book 5 stars because it is funny. The characters have funny names too! And they're also funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book as a child, and happened to come cross the title again and thought it would be an great book to have in my collection.

Monica
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bardsley on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first read Franz Kafka's classic work Metamorphosis in college as part of Stanford University's Structured Liberal Education program, I had what is likely a common reaction: "What the heck? This is crazy!" So I was really curious to see what my son Bruce(7) would think of Mary James's Shoebag, which we are reading as part of my Inspired by SLE Reading list #3 for kids. (By the way, I need to say a BIG "thank you" to "Teaching My Baby to Read Blog" reader Tracee for suggesting this book to me in the first place.)

Shoebag is indeed the perfect introduction to Kafka for kids... and maybe adults too. It tells the story of a cockroach named Shoebag who one day wakes up and has transformed into a young boy. His cockroach family has no idea what to do with him, and their reactions cover the gamut from compassion, to fear, to disgust and even hatred. Other elements of the story include enabling behavior, selfishness, and money causing family dysfunction.

One of the main Kafka references in Shoebag is that Shoebag's best friend at school is named Gregor Samsa who (spoiler alert!) is also a cockroach who has turned into a human. Gregor's real cockroach name is In Bed. It's possible that the character Tuffy Buck is based on the boarders in Metamorphosis, but that might be a stretch on my part. There is also another character named Pretty Soft, who is a child actress. The whole human family shields her from reality and treats her like she is a different species too.
Of course, to a seven year old like Bruce, Shoebag is really just the story of a cockroach that turns into a human and has to go to school. If you just take this book at face value it is not deep at all. But the more you think about it, the smarter it gets.
This is what I mean.
Read more ›
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A Kid's Review on June 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
The book, Shoebag by Mary James is the weirdest book I've ever read. It's about a cockroach who becomes a person and how his life changes. Though it was weird I liked it. Before I read it I thought it would be boring, but it was incredibly funny. I recommend this book to whoever likes comedies
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