Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Monday, April 19, 2010

I am a Spaceheadz

Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka and Francesco Sedita, illustrated by Shane Prigmore

Coming in June from Simon & Schuster Spaceheadz is book one of what seems like a long series. Michael K. just moved to Brooklyn and is starting a new school. He gets seated next to two weird kids who are also new, named Bob and Jennifer. When Michael K. talks to them they tell him they are Spaceheadz and that they need 3.14 and 1 million people to become SPHDZ or earth will be shut off. Michael K. just wants them to leave him alone or fourth grade will be ruined and he will be labeled a weird kid for the rest of the year. His teacher Mrs. Halley doesn't have Bob or Jennifer on her class list and they seem to talk to the class hamster Major Fluffy. Micheal K. can do nothing but hope 3pm comes soon. But Bob, Jennifer, and Major Fluffy follow Michael K. home and Michael K. knows there is something different about these three. All the while an Anti Alien Agency Agent, Agent Umber is on the trail of some alien activity. Micheal K. decides he believes Bob and Jennifer's story after he is shown the website www.imsuregladthatdidnthappen.com with the secret code WALK DON"T WALK typed in. It is up to Michael to help the Spaceheadz anyway he can. He sets up the website www.sphdz.com instead of doing his homework on www.mrshalleyscomets.com and the rest is coming in book two.

This book is set up in an interesting way. There are parts of the story that you can only get online and there are whole parts that you cannot understand (Major Fluffy's speech outlining the Spaceheadz plans is in hamster). I found the book to be a bit crazy at times and when it ended I was upset I didn't know more about what was going on. Then I went to all the websites mentioned in the book and now I am happy and have at least enough information to not be confused. I like the way the book is laid out with new chapters starting with a black page and white text instead of the other way around and the illustrations are great. Major Fluffy is one of my favorite illustrations because Prigmore really did get a hamster to look like a military commander. I think this is going to be a fun series for boys and girls ages 7-11, especially once more and more people find out about the Spaceheadz mission. I liked that all of the websites mentioned in the book were created and now exist, but I did not like that I had to go to one of them to get the rest of the story. Call me lazy, but I wanted it in the book. I do think that these websites are a great way to get kids involved in the story and to get their own creative juices flowing. The chapters are very short which lets the reader decide how much time he or she wants to put into the book at any one moment. I am not very fond of the Agent Umber character, not only does he seem like a buffoon but there doesn't seem to be much point to the Anti Alien Agency. Maybe we will learn more about that in book two now that we know about the Spaceheadz. Overall I say pick up this book when it comes out in June, it will be a fun and quick read that will leave you wanting more and asking yourself if you are a SPHDZ.

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