Arthur dreams of going from fat to thin overnight, but then he discovers he’s not just a fat kid called Biscuit Butt. He’s the only person who can save the universe!
Arthur was fat, quite fat. He didn’t have any friends, except the ones he could eat, like brownies or Oreo’s, or chocolate chip ice cream. If he tried to talk to the other kids at school, they just laughed and jeered and called him names, one more than any other – Biscuit Butt. Arthur hated that name more than any of the rest.
That’s why, when he saw an ad on the back of a comic book that guaranteed he could lose weight while he slept, with the miraculous REM Sleep Device, Arthur didn’t hesitate. He sent in his $10, and anxiously waited for it to arrive.
When it got there on his eleventh birthday, he went down into the basement, opened the package, and took out a shiny black plastic thing that immediately unfolded itself into a helmet. All Arthur had to do was put it on and go to sleep. When he woke up, he’d be thin.
So that’s what Arthur did. He lay down on the workbench, put on the helmet and went to sleep. When he woke up, he looked down at himself. He was the same size he’d always been. Nothing had changed. In a fit of temper, he threw the helmet into the corner, and climbed out of the basement into the back yard. Only it wasn’t the back yard. It was a place he’d never seen before, and when he turned to go back into the basement, the door had vanished.
Arthur was on REM World, where the helmet had taken him. But he’d left that helmet behind in the basement on his own world, and so part of him was still back there. It was the tragedy that all the creatures of REM World had feared for ages. Arthur had caused a crack between the worlds, and the Nothing was slipping in. If it was not stopped, it would take over Everything in the universe, and both Arthur’s world and the REM World would cease to exist.
In order to stop the Nothing, Arthur must get home. But the helmet was the only way – or was it? If Arthur couldn’t figure out another way to get home, Everything would vanish into the Nothing.
It was the Cloud Master who gave Arthur his first clue. “You are not just a boy,” he told Arthur. “You are whatever you think you are, what you believe yourself to be. So are you only a boy? Or are you a boy who can save the universe? You are the only one who can decide.”
This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart