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SPHDZ Book #1! (Spaceheadz) Hardcover – June 22, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5–Michael's first day in fifth grade is not going well. A new school is bad enough, but the teacher has partnered him with two extremely weird kids. Bob and Jennifer tell Michael that they are Spaceheadz from another planet and that they need his help to save the world. They explain that Earth is in danger of being turned off, depriving the interstellar civilizations of our tasty TV and radio waves. Led by Major Fluffy, the class hamster and mission commander, they must recruit 3.14 million (+1) Earthling brainwaves to join in one giant SPHDZ wave to keep the planet online. However, Agent Umber of the secretive Anti-Alien Agency is on their trail. Umber, the most inept spy since Maxwell Smart, hopes that Michael can lead him to the ETs. Michael wants to save the Earth–but does that mean helping the Spaceheadz or turning them in? As in Scieskza's "Time Warp Trio" series (Viking), comically twisted contemporary cultural references abound. The young aliens speak primarily in TV advertising slogans, which fit remarkably–and hilariously–into the dialogue. Real commercial products, from George Foreman grills to Charmin™ toilet tissue, are put to exotic extraterrestrial uses. The intriguing book design includes chapter headings in English and SPHDZ characters, occasional white-on-black pages, and SPHDZ "stickers" scattered throughout the text. The black-and-white cartoon illustrations are often integrated into the text layout, giving the book a graphic-novel feel. Four creative, well-designed websites contribute important information to the story. Science-fiction fans with a taste for off-the-wall humor will be eager to join the SPHDZ movement.Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

Jon Scieszka is the creator of Trucktown, including the New York Times bestselling Smash, Crash!, and the author of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, the Time Warp Trio series, Caldecott Honor Book The Stinky Cheese Man, and many other books that inspire kids to want to read. He has worked as an elementary school teacher and is the founder of GuysRead.com, a literacy initiative for boys.

Francesco Sedita studied writing at the Gallatin School of New York University.  While at Gallatin, he was a Writing Fellow for Saturday Night Live and upon graduation he wrote and directed a show that ran Off-Off-Broadway for 5 years.  Miss Popularity is his first book, published by Scholastic in 2007.  Francesco is the Creative Director at Scholastic.  He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Shane Prigmore is an accomplished professional in the animation, film, and illustration fields. Shane won an Annie Award for his design work on the stop motion feature Coraline. He has also contributed his numerous talents to such projects as: How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods, Rise of the Guardians, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Iron Giant...to name a few. Shane resides in Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Series: Spaceheadz (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Repackage edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416979514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416979517
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,666,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on July 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am an 8 year old boy that loves reading. When I read this book is made me laugh out loud. I kept me entertained and I can't wait for the next one to be released. If you enjoy very funny books, this will be a good pick for you.
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Format: Hardcover
Hurrah! Scieszka and Company are in rare form, with this humorous science-fiction middle-grade adventure. Fifth-grader Michael K. gets stuck with the task of showing new kids Bob and Jennifer the ropes in Mrs. Halley's classroom. He quickly realizes that they are both out-of-this world... literally, from another planet. The only information that Jennifer, Bob and their hamster leader, Major Fluffy, have about planet Earth is from television commercials, beamed into space. Media-savvy readers will recognize many of the catchphrases and slogans that Bob and Jennifer employ in their conversation.

The kids manage to stay one step ahead of bumbling Agent Umber of the Anti-Alien Agency despite his phalanx of super-spy gadgets, including the Pickle Phone, a box of cereal that turns into a laptop computer and a giant taco disguise.

I found the spelling of Spaceheads - rendered throughout as SPHDZ in white-on-black text - a little distracting at first but after a little while I got used to it.

Some of the best story content is found on accompanying websites, full of Easter eggs and additional jokes and information. Mrs. Halley's website is a brilliant send-up of many teachers' poorly designed efforts, complete with plenty of clashing colors, busy patterns, flashing extras, Comic Sans font and cheery "inspirational" quotes. Agent Umber's somewhat official looking "government" website has most links leading to an ominous pop-up reading, "Access Denied. You do not have sufficient security clearance to view this page." However, some careful poking around will lead to case file reports of The Fried Santa Incident, and a rather silly set of highly bureaucratic forms, including Shoe Replacement and Suit Pocket Addition Forms.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book aloud to my boys (age 9 and 13). We were excited about reading it, but we slogged through 17 chapters before we thought the plot was starting to get vaguely interesting. We were also disappointed in the sudden ending, which pretty much necessitates buying book 2 -- which neither I nor my boys are the least bit interested in reading.

Plus sides: We did laugh aloud a couple times. The book is also illustrated and has a manageable amount of text on each page - important for struggling/reluctant readers.

Minus sides: The book was very gimmicky, with crooked text, pages where the text was blocked by what was supposed to look like black "SPHDZ" stickers (the text was repeated without stickers on the next page), a chapter with only eeks and squeaks (ie in the voice of the hamster) and a chapter written upside down. Some kids might get into this, but mine didn't. Real brand names and ad slogans are also mentioned all over the place, and if you don't live in America and watch a lot of TV, this focus on advertising will be fairly meaningless.

I recommend Splurch Academy as a better alternative for this type of audience.
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Format: Paperback
What can I say? You win some, you lose some. Jon Scieszka has done some fine (and hilarious) children's books over the years, but this one has more holes than Swiss cheese. I only read it because I received a free copy of Spaceheadz: Book #3! from the publisher and couldn't make heads nor tails of it without at least reading the rest of the series. It didn't help that much.

For more reviews, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal.
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Format: Paperback
...Okay... It really did take a week of suffering for me to finish this book! Scary thought, since I am a teacher. Why? Unfortunately, (I am a fan of Scieszka) it was boring. The condemnation of a book, such as this one, yields the "Occasional Reading" Spot. (ORS)

I read this book based on other reviews. My objective was to see if it was "fit" for my library. Here are my impressions:

1)Zero plot development. What paltry development there is, moves a glacial speed.
2)Minimal climax. When the "big" confrontation took place, it was an epic snore.
3)Shallow characters devoid of any remarkable traits.
4)As if there isn't enough marketing in the American culture shoved down our throats, much of this book relies on the very "unclever" use of cheap (and stupid) slogans to proffer much of the story in a very circuitous way.
5) As trivial as it seems, it annoyed the daylights out of me for the main character to be referred to first name, last initial. We got it the first 30 times...

I know that I am not an 8-10 year old boy (thank God!), but I am pretty good at choosing and recommending literature for them. I think, as plotless literature consumed for the sake of pleasure goes, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants deliver way more bang for the buck. My advice is to check it out from the library. It is a quick read (unless banished to the ORS...)

Word to Mr. Scieszka: "You are brilliant, and you have produced better."

However, if this book can entice ANY part of the boy culture to read... Have at it. Often boys read things that seem stupid and really dig it. We just keep praying that their choices will mature... some do, some don't. :-)
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