SPHDZ Book #1

Jon Scieszka and Francesco Sedita, illus. by Shane Prigmore, Simon & Schuster, $14.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4169-7951-7
Michael K. (nudge nudge, young Kafka fans) is hoping for a smooth transition as he starts fifth grade at a new school in Brooklyn. But things go downhill when two weirdoes named Jennifer and Bob glom onto him, revealing that they're aliens from the planet Spaceheadz; their leader is the class hamster; and they believe Michael K. can lead 3.14 million Earth kids in a movement to save the planet from being "turned off." Additionally, they must deal with a haplessly persistent agent with the Anti Alien Agency (motto: "To Protect, and to Serve, and to Always Look Up"). To get the full experience, readers can log on to a number of Web sites woven into the story: antialienagency.com, for example, is a funny spoof of a government site. But while Michael K. makes an appealing fish out of water, the story, parceled out in bite-size chapters, feels both padded and flat. And the central running joke—that Bob and Jennifer talk like TV commercials—comes across as recycled material from a Saturday Night Live Coneheads skit. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7–10. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
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