KidsRead: The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser

Monday February 22, 2016
11:00 am

Tags: KidsRead





For this KidsRead event, we welcomed Todd Strasser and 6th and 7th grade students!

About The Beast of Cretacea (Candlewick Press)


Our Junior Edition columnist, Celia McGee says: "It isn’t until page 27 that the 17-year-old at the center of another remarkable Todd Strasser book utters, 'My name is Ishmael.' Just as well that his introduction isn’t word-for-word the famous opening line of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick—that complicated, masterfully difficult, anachronistic-sounding, symbol-laden and extremely weighty work known to strike many high-school and college students merely as once-over-quickly required reading. Strasser, though, clearly a close repeat reader, has taken Melville’s incomparable fiction seriously and ingeniously to heart as the inspiration for the marvelously imaginative The Beast of Cretacea. 


Strasser pumps betrayal into the very air of the swath of Earth where his Ishmael lives, a bitter, dystopian, desiccated and dying place, where children—mostly “foundlings”—come of age believing this is all there is to their planet, its end hastened by perilous and life-shortening work in coal mines that figure into the production of artificial oxygen allotted in shrinking amounts to their portion of the human race. Little wonder that several generations of young people have volunteered for “missions” to other planets that could hold life-saving resources to keep humankind from annihilation, or offer it new homes. Just as any undertaking must have a goal, any journey must have a destination, and for Ishmael, along with four fellow foundlings named Queequeg, Pip, Billy and Gwen, it’s the planet Cretacea.


About Todd Strasser  

Todd Strasser is the author of many award-winning YA novels, including The Wave, Give a Boy a Gun, and Fallout, which the New York Times called, “Superb entertainment... and gripping suspense.” Of his newest novel, The Beast of Cretacea,  Publisher’s Weekly said the book is, “Equal parts Moby-Dick retelling, environmental cautionary tale, and coming-of-age story, Strasser’s fantastical SF epic blends disparate pieces into a harmonious whole.” Todd’s Help! I’m Trapped In … middle-grade series has sold more than 5 million copies world-wide. He has also written for The New Yorker, Esquire, and The New York Times. Several of his books have been adapted for film and TV. Learn more about him at




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