Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Doom Machine

The Doom Machine

Fall 2009 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Mark Teague
ISBN: 9780545151429
Hardcover Price: $17.99
Jack's unscrupulous Uncle Bud is sure this invention will make him a millionaire. It might look like a refrigerator, but it's really a destabilizer for creating time warps at will. The only trouble is that it's been commissioned by the alien Skreepian Queen to aid in her invasion of Earth; and when her army comes to collect it, they collect not only the destabilizer, but also Uncle Bud, Jack, scientist Dr. Shumway and her daughter Isadora, stowaway hobo Joe, the local cop and his son, and last but not least, Jack's chicken Milo. The prisoners don't exactly get along. Dr. Shumway doesn't approve of Jack's or Bud's morals, and even though she's been captured by aliens she refuses to believe in spaceships, the cop and his son have been trying to nab Jack and Uncle Bud for years, and Milo the chicken has always been a bit ornery. But the motley crew of prisoners has to find a way to sabotage the destabilizer, band together and join forces with alien rebels to defeat the Skreepian army, before Uncle Bud's rather volatile invention destroys everything.

This romping adventure through time and space reads something like a teen takeoff on the original Star Wars film, but with kookier characters and much better dialogue. Familiar and endearing characters are recreated: there is Jack the gifted mechanic, Isadora the girl who's good at boy things, Joe the wise guide, and of course, the rebel hunk of junk spaceship that Jack soups up so that it's the fastest flier in the galaxy. The Doom Machine is funny, entertaining, and by the end, heartwarming, as the captives are saved from the ravages of time by the power of a story.

Naomi Lesley   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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