Ever tasted a NuttiNutz candy bar?
Has your Mom been kidnapped recently?
Know what a Samurai Swordboy is?
Are you afraid of terrible curses?
Or Toy Poodles?
How 'bout (gulp) older sisters??
Do fake false teeth ever talk to you?
Hey, then you better read this book . . . but Be Warned, friend. . . . It's not like anything you've ever read . . . unless you're completely demented! (Are you?)
About the Author
Writer/performer Barry Yourgrau has been making people laugh their heads off--or gasp in astonishment--with such books as Wearing Dad's Head and A Man Jumps Out of An Airplane. He's startled everyone with his appearances on MTV and National Public Radio. He even starred in a movie based on his writings, and in a music video too. He teased the world with his first book for kids, My Curious Uncle Dudley. Barry woke up one day in the US as a kid. Now Barry's ready to unleash the hysterically dark fun and games from the deepest dark of his soul. "With my NASTYbook," grins Barry, nastily, "I invite you to share in those cruel, twisted and shockingly mischeivous delights I know you secretly adore--if you dare!" He got there all the way from South Africa, he claims... Or is this just another of his jokes?
Read an Excerpt
Another NASTYbookThe Curse of the Tweeties
By Barry Yourgrau
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Barry Yourgrau
All right reserved.
The sun is going down.
It's the lovely end of a long summer's afternoon out at Pleasant Lake.
Just the perfect setting for an early-supper family picnic, and then for sitting around, smiling sappily, as the fireflies come out twinkling in the gathering darkness.
Of course it's also the perfect setting for terror, horror, and bloodcurdling tragedy to strike.
But we get ahead of ourselves.
The kid of this picnicking family, named Rollo, hunches out of sight behind a tree, sneaking bites of a pre-supper NuttiNutz Bar ("The Treat That's Shockingly Sweet") and rereading his favorite Japanese manga action comic book.
Then his mother's voice finds him.
"Rollo!" nags the voice. "Are you hiding over there, with some candy? You'll ruin your appetite -- and candy's just not good for you! And d'you think the table's going to set itself, Rollo?"
So Rollo has to hurriedly wipe his mouth, and conceal his NuttiNutz Bar. And reluctantly and carefully close his comic book. And then trudge over to the picnic table with its piles of plates, forks and knives, napkins, etc., all waiting to be unpiled and set out in proper order.
But no, this deprivation and drudgery is notthe terror, horror, and tragedy we meant.
"Ooh," sneers Rollo's older sister, whose name is Noreen. "Sneaking a gorge fest before supper? With your piggy nose stuck in that stupid comic, Suzie Samurai or whatever?"
"It's Su-ichi," snarls Rollo at his sister's deliberate and provocative mangling of facts. "And he's not a regular samurai, he's -- "
"Okay, knock it off," growls their dad from the barbecue grill. "You're giving me a headache!" He coughs, waving at the fatty clouds of burger smoke.
"It's Su-ichi Samurai Swordboy!" hisses Rollo, for his obnoxious sister's information. Not that she comprehends in the slightest.
And then all three of them whip their heads around, at Mom's scream from the family van. They see her kicking at something behind the open back door in the dimness.
"What is it?" cries Dad.
Mom comes marching back over toward the picnic table, carrying her "family favorite" banana creme pie. "Some disgusting little creature, with a face like an ugly old man, tried to snatch a bite of my pie!" she exclaims. She chuckles snidely. "But I gave it a kick it'll remember for a long time! It smelled, too, like a skunk."
"A skunk?" says Rollo, peering with a mix of fascination and disgust.
"Probably not a skunk, more likely a possum with that kind of face," announces Noreen. "Yuck, they carry rabies."
"Rabies, you're always whining about rabies!" sneers Rollo.
"Will you two stop bickering!" declares Mom.
"My headache," coughs Dad.
"We're ready to eat," says Mom. "Why's the lantern not lit? Rollo?"
And on this typical note of parents nagging and siblings squabbling, the family picnic supper begins by charming Pleasant Lake at sunset.
And perhaps the terror, horror, and tragedy occurs now -- in the form of Dad's black-charred burgers and turkey franks, and Mom's weird potato salad containing gummy carrot scrapings and squishy, revolting, bug-sized raisins, which Rollo and Noreen furtively scrape out and quarantine in disgust at the sides of their plates.
But no, this isn't what we meant, not even when eagle-eyed Mom says, "Hey, you two, I see what you're up to with your raisins!" Nor when she starts slicing her "family favorite" banana creme pie, whose unique lumpiness the family is subjected to several times a year, on happy family occasions like this. "Boy, did I ever give that ugly creature a kick," Mom chuckles again, with a shake of her head.
"You know, rabies can be transmitted -- "
"Noreen, we're eating!" protests grossed-out Rollo.
"Stop already!" grumbles Dad, his mouth full.
"Boy, just look at 'em!" sighs Mom; and she smiles, gazing out at the myriad of fireflies twinkling wondrously in the gathering darkness beyond the lantern light of the picnic table. The whole family gazes together. . . .
And a long twinkling hush falls, there by Pleasant Lake. . . .
Too bad it doesn't last.
"Hey . . ." she says slowly.
The whole family twist their heads about. "What a smell -- " blurts Noreen.
Out of nowhere a violent gust of wind buffets the picnic table. Then another, sending the dessert paper plates flying, and knocking over the lantern. The family shouts. All the fireflies seem to disappear at once; thunder rumbles. The wind lashes the family picnic table in fury.
Mom and Noreen shriek as a horde of midget two-legged creatures comes boiling and grappling out of the sudden darkness. They have the faces of weird little old men, with long wrinkly ears and far-apart eyes, with wide wrinkly cheeks and sharp noses. They wear bushy jackets made of leaves and flowers!
"How dare you abuse one of our goblin kind?" they squawk, high-pitched and oddly old-fashioned sounding. Many little hands seize hold of flailing Mom, and start dragging her away off her picnic bench.
"Help, help!" bleats Mom.
"Hey, stop!" shouts Dad, floundering on the ground behind his bench, where he's keeled over.
"Mom!" wails Noreen. "Oh, Mom!"
"See how she likes a nice little stay in Fairyland!" cackles a tiny vicious voice out of the throng, as the kidnappers disappear into the inky, stormy evening.
And this is our terror, horror, and bloodcurdling tragedy, yes indeed. Understand now?
Rollo stares blinking into the buffeting wind. His face breaks into an amazed grin. "Wow . . ." he blurts. "Cool!"
Rollo, you see, represents the viewpoint of your action-adventure comic book fan.
His dad swarms to his feet at last, and gapes into the wind himself. But not grinning. "Hurry!" he gasps. He turns and rushes over to the barbecue grill, which is lying on its side. He starts hauling it toward the van. "Let's get out of here before they kidnap us!" he shouts.
Rollo stares as his sister goes scrounging for the plates and silverware, which have spilled into the grass.
"Don't forget the lantern!" his dad calls back. "But -- what about Mom?" Rollo protests, in confusion. He twists about toward where he last saw her. "Aren't we gonna rescue her?"
Excerpted from Another NASTYbook by Barry Yourgrau Copyright © 2006 by Barry Yourgrau. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rollo loves NuttiNutz Bars (much better than any regular meal) and manga/comic books (especially Su-ichi Samurai Swordboy). He's not a huge fan of his family, particularly his big sister, Noreen.
But, when his mom is abducted by trolls during a family picnic, Rollo is shocked to realize that he is the only one who is overly concerned. Every one else seems to be content to mourn her briefly and then move on with life. Noreen has no problem overtaking her mom's closet and jewelry collection. Rollo's dad even appears to be dating again, and his new girlfriend comes complete with an evil poodle. It's up to Rollo to set off to rescue his mom.
To boost his confidence, he turns himself into his very own manga character, Samurai Stickboy. Armed with a hockey stick, some NuttiNutz Bars, and determination, Rollo sets off on his quest. On his way, he is both helped and hindered by Marv and Harv Tweety, twin brothers who are more confusing than they are useful (especially when one of them dies), a set of talking teeth that Rollo begins to hate, and some strange directional signposts. With a little luck Rollo will be able to figure everything out and be able to rescue his mom before it's too late. If not, well...
This book is half comic book/half written-out manga, with enough non-stop action to keep just about any boy interested. It definitely keeps you guessing; you never know what might happen next. It's like a whirlwind that picks you up, sucks you in, spins you all over the place, and then spits you back out.