Reviews for Doom Machine
Booklist Reviews 2009 October #2
Teague jumps from writing and illustrating picture books into the novel form with this bold splash of 1950s-era science fiction. Local troublemaker Jack Creedle, accompanied by a strict scientist and her no-nonsense daughter, Jack's daffy inventor uncle, and the town cop and his bullish son, goes on an interstellar romp aboard a flying saucer full of spiderlike aliens called skreeps. Jack's uncle has invented a "dimensional field destabilizer," which the skreeps intend to steal and use for any number of nefarious purposes, including the enslavement of the human race. Throughout, Teague ably balances action and mirth. Still, readers might have trouble keeping track of the seemingly endless parade of aliens (wait, which one's Furgok and which one's Gloorg?), and the deep-space jaunt might extend a planet or two too far. With all the gooey alien zaniness, Teague's dry humor is a welcome counterpunch, while the unexpectedly original twists of space-time malleability give readers something to chew on. His illustrations add some depth to the book's nostalgic sci-fi flair. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
Teague puts a campy spin on intergalactic war. In 1956, skreeps (spiderlike aliens) kidnap Bud Creedle, inventor of a "dimensional field destabilizer" that cuts through the space-time continuum. The burden of saving Earth falls to juvenile delinquent Jack and budding scientist Isadora; the story's action is fast and furious. Teague's visual writing and numerous black-and-white illustrations help readers picture the alien assortment. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #1
Smartly set in 1956 at the height of the flying saucer craze, illustrator Teague's first novel puts a campy spin on intergalactic war. Skreeps, spiderlike creatures that inhabit planet after planet, laying waste to the land and enslaving the inhabitants, kidnap Bud Creedle, an auto mechanic from Vern Hollow, New York, who has invented a "dimensional field destabilizer" to cut through the space-time continuum. In a botched operation, Bud's juvenile delinquent nephew Jack, the bumbling county sheriff, the sheriff's bullying son, and a skeptical scientist and her daughter Isadora join the hapless inventor. The burden of returning to Earth with Bud's destabilizer (which is made from a refrigerator) and saving our planet from skreepian invasion falls to young Jack and Isadora. Their adventures lead them to all manner of creatures that appear like exotic extras from the Star Wars cantina. Here Teague's visual writing and numerous black-and-white illustrations help readers picture the alien assortment. Teague keeps his social commentary light, as when the skreeps' Commander Xaafuun remembers, "Early skreepish expeditions had assumed that kaarz were the dominant species on Uurth, and ooman bings were their parasitic companions...Kaarz were much more powerful than the creatures that controlled them, and they seemed to have taken the best part of the planet for themselves." The action is fast and furious, welcoming all those Earthlings looking for a grand escape from the ordinary. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #1
A small band of more-or-less ordinary Earth humans takes on a galactic empire in Teague's first full-blown novel (Funny Farm, 2009, etc.). When the Dimensional Field Stabilizer that Uncle Bud has cooked up in his small-town garage draws a flying saucer full of piratical, spiderlike skreeps, young Jack Creedle and a handful of other residents and passersby suddenly find themselves captives, hurtling through time and space toward Planet Skreepia and (eventually, after many adventures) a climactic dustup with the Skreep Queen. Details in the story, which is set in 1956, and the occasional spot or full-page illustrations add a retro tone to the tale, as do the many pulp-magazine-style furry, chitinous or rubbery aliens met along the way. Though the author gives most of the active roles to the grown-ups, leaving Jack and his science-crazy new friend Isadora largely observers, his feeling for oddball characters and twists recalls Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday (2007) and should draw the same audience. (Science fiction. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 October #1
Picture book author/illustrator Teague (Dear Mrs. LaRue) has produced a madcap, heavily illustrated tale chockfull of malevolent aliens and superscience as well as a fair share of silliness. The year is 1956 and young Jack Creedle is a good-natured juvenile delinquent who can work wonders with engines, while his disreputable Uncle Bud may just be the world's greatest inventor. Equally brilliant are Isadora and her straitlaced mother, Dr. Shumway ("A lady scientist!" remarks the mayor of Jack's town after the Shumways are stranded there. "That's something you don't see every day"). When alien skreeps, led by Commander Xaafuun (who hates "ooman bings"), invade in search of Bud's most recent invention, Jack and Isadora are caught up in a rollicking interstellar adventure, replete with a crew of space pirates, a deposed princess, a wide variety of monsters and a pugnacious rooster named Milo ("Growing up had made the chicken mean. He was a typical Creedle in that way"). Borrowing wildly from pulp fiction, bad movies and even Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, Teague has a wonderful time with this occasionally disjointed but endlessly inventive first novel. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) [Page 49]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October
Gr 4-7--Teague doesn't hold anything back in his first full-length novel. Readers are treated to some of his classic storytelling elements including inquisitive kids, aliens of many varieties, and interesting gizmos. In 1956, Jack Creedle is just beginning his paper route when a flying saucer passes overhead and lands nearby. A week later Vern Hollow is mostly deserted when Isadora Shumway and her mother, a highly respected scientist, arrive there as their car gives out. Jack repairs it and he and the Shumways attempt to leave town with Jack's Uncle Bud. Of course, all four of them are captured by the alien skreeps, giant spiderlike beings from a vast and cruel empire. As in any epic, these heroes journey across strange landscapes, face difficult choices, receive unexpected help, and eventually triumph with their new allies. The author subtly weaves in commentary on the skreeps, who think only of themselves and who leave entire worlds barren in order to enjoy their resources. Teague's signature artwork livens up an already gripping story. This isn't hard science fiction, but talk of wormholes and other science fits the story well. It's a great story with engaging characters and a good deal of humor.--Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI [Page 138]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2009 October
On a dark morning of 1956 in the small town of Vern Hollow, former juvenile delinquent Jack Creedle watches a space ship land in the woods. The ensuing mayhem reveals that Jack's Uncle Bud has created a machine that makes holes in space and time, and the spider-like aliens have arrived to steal it. When Jack, Bud, the sheriff, the sheriff 's son, a scientist stranded in town while traveling, and her daughter are taken along with Bud's machine, they begin a quest that spans across the universe to prevent the machine from being used to help carry an army intent upon destroying earth. Illustrator Teague turns to fiction in his first novel where increasingly sensationalistic coincidences lead from one ridiculous situation to another. Although such a plot progression could have utterly failed, amazingly here it works perfectly as homage to many classic examples in literature, movies, and television. Even though there is near constant tension that leads to a quick climax, readers will be drawn in by the stunning cast of characters both alien and human with wonderfully distinct personalities. With an environmental theme that is so subtly woven in that it may be overlooked by the sheer force of the mind-bending plot that touches on theories of time travel, this book is filled with humor and dramatic figurative language that makes the setting completely approachable. It is a great fit for science fiction, humor, and adventure genre fans.--Rachel Wadham. Illus. 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.