Friday, July 23, 2010
I had such high hopes for Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka and Francesco Sedita. I was looking forward to having another science fiction book I could enthusiastically recommend to kids. deep sigh.
Other people might really love it. But I didn't. I guess it was okay. I managed to finish reading it. But I didn't really want to. deep sigh.
I think it's worth having other people on the committee read, nonetheless. I have a quirky sense of humor - maybe people who laugh at more "normal" like sitcoms on t.v. would like it. (Or more to the point, maybe kids will find it funny.)
It's cool that there are web sites that extend the story. They are pretty fun - I especially liked the antialienagency.com site, but sphdz.com was okay.
I'll try to find some reviews so we can get other viewpoints.
P.S. 858 fifth grader Michael K. had hoped for a normal first day in his new school, but what he gets is crazy-weird. He's paired with two other new students, Bob (who talks like a commercial) and Jennifer (who sounds like a wrestling announcer), who seem to know him and who think he can do anything. They and their loquacious hamster, Major Fluffy, even say that they are aliens sent to Earth to recruit SPHDZ. They are sure Michael K can help them recruit 3.14 million kids-if not, the Earth will be turned off! While Michael K. is trying to figure out how to escape or at least mitigate the total weirdstorm, Agent Umber of the Anti-Alien Agency is hot on the trail. With this series kick-off, Scieszka and Sedita have just written the book (literally) on how to integrate new media into a "traditional" book for children. The story's websites are all functional (not to mention funny) and extend the narrative. Prigmore's black-and-white illustrations are a perfect match; in fact, artwork and text have rarely worked so well together in this format. Hysterical, sneakily instructive fun. You will be SPHDZ! (Multi-platform science fiction. 7-12)
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)