Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Zorgamazoo--Robert Paul Weston (Book review)

A fun little novel, for young ones and old,
who still feel those old Dr. Seuss books are gold
but have interest in reading full-length storylines:
This Zorgamazoo book will suit them just fine

Robert Weston, the author, is ever so bold--
As adventure proceeds and as plot lines unfold
As characters threaten and chatter and whine--
For two hundred eighty-one pages, he rhymes!

Don't worry--he's better at it than I am. Zorgamazoo is the story of a little girl who, when escaping from the lobotomy planned by mean Mrs. Krabone and the evil Dr. LeFang, encounters a Zorgle (that's him in the Victor Rivas illustration, above) who's been sent on a mission to find the missing Zorgles of Zorgamazoo.

Amazon lists the reading level as 9-12, but when I read it aloud to my sons, 8 and nearly-12, even the oldest asked for the occasional word to be defined. In fact, when read out loud, it's quite a vocabulary builder, because Weston often repeats the same idea, worded two or three different ways. For teachers and homeschoolers, the Zorgamazoo website contains teaching ideas as well as an excerpt read by the author. There's a lot you could do with this book.

I can't say enough about the way the book was put together. There's a good-sized illustration at the beginning of each chapter--just enough to pique the reader's interest in each new character-- and in my opinion the pictures complement the narrative perfectly. (We just spent 10 minutes enjoying his other artwork on Rivas' Photostream--fair warning, though: they're not all kiddie pics). Words themselves can be used as illustrations, and in Zorgamazoo the font, text size, and twists and turns of the words do a beautiful job of interacting with the meaning of the text and keeping the reader engaged.

My kids' assessment? "It was a good book except for all the rhyming was sometimes getting a little bit tiring." Okay, it seems we need to read more poetry around here.

I'll leave you with this:

Ben's Lego brick reproduction of one of Weston and Rivas' Octomabots, the unstoppable creatures which systematically kidnapped Zorgles, Yeti, ogres, and other fanciful creatures, in an effort to create as much boredom as possible here on Earth.


  1. I love the poetry at the beginning of your review -- it's much better than I could ever do :)


  2. I'm so glad you liked this book! I read it about five weeks ago and have been telling everyone about it ever since. I reviewed it here and included some excerpts:

  3. Fate, I headed over to read your review and realized, that's what led me to seek out the book in the first place. So, thank you!

  4. Thanks, Kim! You rhymed pretty well yourself, there. ;-)

  5. Ben did an excellent job. I live with Lego!

  6. What a clever, fabulous review! The rhymes were great! And now I want to read this book... I'm a big fan of general silliness.

  7. Thanks, Ania! If you're a fan of Seuss-like silliness, you'll love Zorgamazoo!

  8. Thanks again for a great review! I thought you might be interested to know that I've just begun posting audio to my blog -- excerpts from Zorgamazoo, and there'll be new stuff in the future.

  9. Thanks for letting us know, Rob! I'll keep an eye (ear?) out, looking forward to hearing what else you've been writing.

  10. yeah... funny thread )