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Villain's Lair (The Gecko and Sticky Series #1)
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Villain's Lair (The Gecko and Sticky #3)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Dave Sanchez is an average boy with an after-school job and a pet gecko named Sticky. All very normal-until the day Sticky talks. Sticky tells Dave a wild tale of a former life of crime, searching for Aztec gold with a treasure hunter named Damien Black, and of a magical Aztec wristband with shiny gold power ingots that will give the wearer super powers. Dave doesn't belie ...more
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Published February 10th 2009 by Random House Children's Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Library Lady
Kids will enjoy this. But as an adult, I found Sticky's Spanglish/Stickyese bit annoyingly reminiscent of the Taco Bell chihuahua. And the narrator's confidences to the reader "Ah-ah-ah,I warned you. But this story is true" has the same annoying ring of an award winning book I despise, The Tale of Despereaux Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread.

But again, I'm an adult and this is for kids--boy reluctant reader types, I would guess. And some of them may go for i
In this first book of a new series, Van Draanan writes an exciting tale, full of outrageous characters, fast-paced action, and lots of laughs. Stephen Gilpin’s pen and ink drawings add to the fun. This will appeal to both boys and girls and should hook reluctant readers, who will be looking forward to the next installment.
Okay. First of all, when my mom put this book on hold for me at the library, I thought it was going to be a stupid book. But when I read my mom the flap I thought it sounded like a good book. My mom even said it sounded like something I'd write; I'm going to be an author when I grow up. I really liked it.
Kristin Rosenberg
Sticky is a kleptomaniac gecko with the power of speech. Dave is the thirteen year old kid who saved him from the neighbor's cat. Now Sticky and Dave are breaking into the nightmarish mansion of Damien Black (treasure hunter and all-around bad guy) in order to steal a magic bracelet.

Overall, I wasn't a fan of the first two chapters. The narrator sounds like a know-it-all, with a very boastful tone. I didn't connect with the characters, and I really couldn't tell you what drove them. I'm sure th
Series fiction aimed at boys isn't something that I usually read so it is hard for me to compare this book to others. It was filled with adventure and light humor so I'm sure 4th grade boys will enjoy this book about a boy and a gecko.
If Sticky is a gecko, and if geckos are sticky...why "The Gecko & Sticky"? I'm not about to spoil this perfectly pleasurable read for all the potential tween boy readers out there...boys, you will simply have to read this one to put it all together!

I was once an all-knowing thirteen year old boy just like Dave; well, not "just" like him, but you get my drift, so I can vouch that I would have loved to read about Dave and Sticky's perilous plot had the book only been written back in 1762 when
The Gecko & Sticky are two of the most hilarious characters I have ever come across in literature. Sticky is the actual gecko and the “Gecko” is the superhero moniker of Sticky’s 13-year-old friend, Dave Sanchez. Confused? It makes sense when you read the book, whose tongue-in-cheek narrative style is full of asides and inside jokes for the reader.

The Gecko and Sticky actually make their first appearance within the pages of van Draanen’s four book Shredderman series–which I also highly recom
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

A boy and his pet gecko. It doesn't seem like the makings of much of an adventure, but imagine if it was a talking gecko with notoriously "sticky" fingers.

Dave Sanchez is a pretty normal kid. He lives in an apartment with his hardworking parents and his annoying sister. Life was fairly routine until the day his pet gecko announced that he could talk. He told some crazy story about helping three loco banditos in their get-rich-quick
NOTE: This review is specifically for the audiobook version. The reader's performance may have skewed my perspective.

If you still think Speedy Gonzales is an appropriate character for the 21st century, then you may enjoy Sticky as performed in this audiobook. I'm not entirely the character, with his stereotypical exclamations, is significantly better in print; but in this format, I found him intolerable.
Not a bad book, just not one that I'll necessarily recommend to people. It seems like some books written for younger audiences still entertain and enrich the audience, no matter the age. This book didn't quite reach that level of appeal.

My daughter liked it, though. So if you are about 9 years old, maybe you should give it a chance!

Gwen the Librarian
This is an adventurous, mysterious, and real story about a boy named Dave and his talking gecko, Sticky. No, really, it's a true story! Sticky leads Dave to a scary old mansion that is booby-trapped with hollow walls and shrunken heads. They are there to steal a magic Aztec armband that is currently in the possession of the evil villain Damien Black. The armband, combined with powerful gold ingots, gives the wearer the ability to fly, turn invisible, all kinds of things. They're stealing it beca ...more
I'm a huge Wendelin Van Draanen fan, and I've gotta say, this is the most fun I've had reading one of her books. The language and storytelling is fresh and funny, and Sticky, the talking gecko, is a riot.
Although this book made me chuckle a few times, it was just too "dumbed-down" for me to get into. I didn't even finish the first CD. If you're wondering what I mean by dumbed down, I'll explain. Roal Dahl and C.S. Lewis write (or rather wrote) great children's books without having to resort to gimmicks, oversimplified plots, and melodrama (okay so Roald Dahl got a little melodramatic every once in a while). But they just wrote well-thought-out stories that happened to appeal to adults and kids a ...more
Amy Brown
Dave and his talking Gecko Sticky are trying to get an artifact from the evil Damien Black. They enter his creepy home looking for special ingots that when combined with the wristband that Sticky already has will give superhero powers to the wearer including the ability to fly and to become invisible. This is the first book in a series. 3rd-4th grade. It has the feel to me of the Mysterious Benedict Society or the Series of Unfortunate events (with the evil character, creepy booby trapped home, ...more
We really enjoyed this book's story. Struggled with the writing a bit. We never figured out who the narrator is ... the "I" in the writing. Perhaps because we started with book #3, but I think they should be stand alone even within a series. Enjoyed the story, even if very far-fetched for a city environment. Fun action story, not quite a mystery genre.
Dave has a talking Gecko. His talking gecko has talked Dave into retriving some magic coins that will gave super powers. The only probleme is the coins are held by evil Damien Black in a cage with a Komodo Dragon.

It's funny, and gross, with an adventure. Just what every third and fourth grade boy wants.
Sandra Pedicini
Look out Geico Gecko! Wendelin Van Draanen has created a fun, memorable hero in the wisecracking, Spanglish-speaking Sticky, a kleptomaniac gecko. Also a dastardly villain in Damian Black. Throw in a bad mariachi band-turned-group-of-thugs, and you've got yourself some entertaining reading time.
I tried this one out of the publisher's box when it came because the "Sammy Keyes" books are so popular at my library. I can't say that I found anything great in this series opener. It doesn't feel like a good or a bad series, just kind of there.

Grades 2-4.
Villain's Lair was entertaining and humorous. I thought that the story was imaginative and clever. I really liked the primary characters, Dave and Sticky. I especially loved Sticky's catch-phrases. It was a very fun story.
Adventure and silly superhero characters make this a good choice for young boys and girls who are comfortable with their chapter-book reading skills. Van Draanen knows how to write for kids who want fun, adventure and some mild thrills.
I think these books are annoying (enough with all the alliteration lame Spanglish already) but camilo loves them. He's listened to this one multiple times...
Dave grudgingly agreed to Sticky's conditions:
He would never tell a soul about wristband.
He would never tell a soul that lizard could talk.
Debbie Petersen
Yet another of my favorites from childhood...the adventures of Elephi aka "Well Known Cat, Formerly Kitten" is as fun to read now as it was then.
3/4th&up. Fast moving action, amusing dialogue, quirky and entertaining characters. Very quick read, but a lot of fun!
Listened to this on CD with my kiddos. They liked it and want to read or listen to more. Simple but fun story.
I think 3rd & 4th grade boys will love this one. Lots of creativity, adventure adn danger. A fun read.
Beckett Geary
I think this other is reley cool I am all redey on his seckond book. I like how his books are funy and skary
Very funny book. I can see why my son likes it so much. I do think I'll listen to the others in this series.
Fun spin off books from the Shredderman series
Nolan like this book. Good, fun summer reading!
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reading log #3 1 2 Mar 18, 2012 05:52PM  
reading log #3 1 2 Mar 18, 2012 05:52PM  
Why i choes this book 1 2 Nov 29, 2011 08:48AM  
Van Draanen was born in Chicago, Illinois. One of her early influences was Dandelion Wine . According to the author, the book was "about the magic of growing up and [it] reminded me of all the wonderful mischief my brothers and I got into when we were young." Bradbury's work inspired Van Draanen to write How I Survived Being a Girl, which was published by HarperCollins in 1997. Other early influe ...more
More about Wendelin Van Draanen...

Other Books in the Series

The Gecko and Sticky (4 books)
  • Sinister Substitute (The Gecko and Sticky, #1)
  • The Greatest Power (The Gecko and Sticky, #2)
  • The Power Potion (The Gecko and Sticky, #4)
Flipped The Running Dream Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief Runaway Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy (Sammy Keyes, #3)

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