Akiko And The Intergalactic Zoo

Akiko And The Intergalactic Zoo

by Mark Crilley

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Akiko, the Earthling hero best known for helping rescue Prince Froptoppit of the Planet Smoo, has been back on her home planet for several months now. She’s just started fifth grade and has been made leader of the school safety patrol. But Akiko’s not-so-normal adventures start up again when the grateful King of Smoo sends Akiko, Spuckler Boach, Gax, Poog,


Akiko, the Earthling hero best known for helping rescue Prince Froptoppit of the Planet Smoo, has been back on her home planet for several months now. She’s just started fifth grade and has been made leader of the school safety patrol. But Akiko’s not-so-normal adventures start up again when the grateful King of Smoo sends Akiko, Spuckler Boach, Gax, Poog, and Mr. Beeba on an all-expenses-paid vacation to the planet Quilk–home of the Intergalactic Zoo!

Wonders abound at the zoo. There are so many creatures of every shape, color, and size wandering around that it’s hard to tell the difference between the animals and the visitors. Then the zookeeper takes a special interest in Akiko, and she is added to his personal collection! Will Akiko and her friends find a way to escape from this nightmare vacation?

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As a show of gratitude for rescuing Prince Froptoppit, the King of Smoo sends Akiko and her friends on a vacation to the planet Quilk to visit their famous zoo in Akiko and the Intergalactic Zoo by Mark Crilley. But the zookeeper wants Akiko for his special collection can her friends free her? (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This fifth book in the series of novels featuring space-traveling comic-book star Akiko is the first stand-alone adventure in the series. Fifth-grader Akiko thinks she's done having adventures after her heroic rescue of the prince of the planet Smoo. However, King Froptoppit wants to send her on a vacation to thank her for saving his son, and soon enough, Akiko finds herself winging through space with her motley crew of alien friends. Their destination? The planet Quilk, home of an immense collection of creatures from around the universe. At first, Akiko is pleased by their host's solicitous attention, as he takes them on a private tour of the zoo. Soon, though, she begins to suspect that the zookeeper is interested in the "Earthian" not as a visitor to the zoo, but as a potential specimen. It's up to Akiko and her friends to escape from the giant zookeeper and find their way back to their spaceship. A fast-moving plot and imaginative descriptions of alien creatures make up for the lack of character depth. Although this adventure does stand alone, readers might enjoy Akiko's story more if they are familiar with the earlier books in the series. Anime-inspired drawings are interspersed with the text. 2002, Random House/Dell Yearling, Ages 7 to 10.
— Norah Piehl
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-In her fifth novel, Akiko, who in an earlier book helped to rescue Prince Froptoppit of the planet Smoo, is rewarded for her good deed with a vacation to the planet Quilk's famous zoo. All goes well (although the descriptions of the amazing creatures are boring) until the director of the zoo discovers that Akiko is an "Earthian." The gleam in his eye and his subsequent actions signal disaster, which the fifth grader doesn't suspect until she is trapped in a specimen room and separated from her friends. The buildup to her capture is perhaps the most interesting portion of the story, because readers can see what she cannot. The only real spark of character development is evidenced in Ladmi, a winged beauty with an attitude. On the whole, the book is uneven, providing little depth of plot, theme, or character, and its story line is bumpy. Comic-book fans may enjoy the generous array of black-and-white cartoon illustrations, but they could soon become discouraged by the difficult language and the many lagging sections in the narrative.-Susan Weitz, Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Akiko Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.39(d)
940L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

My name is Akiko. This is the story of my journey to the planet Quilk and all the crazy--and extremely dangerous--stuff that happened to me while I was there. I know, I know. A girl like me has no business going to other planets in the first place. I mean, I really ought to wait until I've at least finished elementary school. What can I say? I keep getting invited, and it's very hard to turn these people down.

It all started last fall, just a few weeks after the new school year began. I'd finally made it to the fifth grade. I liked most of my teachers. Homework was light. Things were going well. Then, one warm September afternoon when I least expected it, they came to get me. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been at school that day. Maybe I'd have missed out on the whole adventure. Probably not, though. I think they would have found me one way or another.

Well, anyway . . .

That afternoon I was at school tidying things up after a meeting of the girls' safety patrol in a first-floor classroom at Middleton Elementary. As leader of the patrol it was my duty to organize the meetings every month, which was actually a lot of fun, since our little get-togethers hardly ever had anything to do with safety. Mainly we just used them as an excuse to talk loudly and eat potato chips in a classroom without anyone yelling at us. Unfortunately this also meant that I was the only one left to throw stuff in the garbage and put all the chairs on top of the desks after the others had gone home. Leadership has its drawbacks.

I was just about finished when I noticed a big mop standing in the corner halfway across the room from the broom closet. It was one of those big old janitor's mops that looked as if the school had bought it back in 1919 or something. It had that horrible stink old mops have, the sort of smell that makes you really glad you're not a floor. I was going to just leave it there, but then someone might think I was the one who had forgotten to put it away, so I went over and dragged it across the room--it was pretty heavy because it was still soaking wet--and opened the broom-closet door with a good yank.


I jumped back as quickly as I could, clutching the mop handle as if it were a weapon. A voice inside that closet had just booed me, and though I figured it was probably just that crazy Jimmy Hampton pulling a prank, I wasn't taking any chances.

"Scared ya," the strangely familiar voice said from somewhere back in the shadows, "didn' I?"

It was definitely not Jimmy Hampton.

Then I saw a head emerge from behind a stack of cardboard boxes. The spiky blue-black hair, the unshaven chin, the mischievous squinty eyes . . . Who could it be but Spuckler Boach?

"Spuckler!" I cried, shooting a glance out the window to make sure no one would see him. "What in the world are you doing here?"

"Now, 'Kiko," Spuckler said as he stepped out into the classroom, "that ain't no way t' greet an old friend!"

He leaned over and gave me a great big bear hug that lifted me right up off the floor. I didn't have the faintest idea how he'd gotten there or why, but I sure was glad to see him. It had been several months since I'd returned from my first big adventure in outer space, and I couldn't count the number of times I'd dreamed about seeing my Smoovian friends again.

"Stand back an' lemme get a good look atcha!"

Spuckler said, locking his fingers around my upper arms and thrusting me back a good yard or so. We looked each other up and down as if we hadn't met in years.

"Whoo doggy, girl, you're gettin' bigger! What are ya now, a college student or somethin'?"

"No, Spuckler," I laughed. "I've only just started fifth grade."

"Well now, close your eyes, little miss fi'th grader," he said, stepping back to the broom closet, " 'cause I got a big honkin' surprise for ya!"

"Uh-oh," I replied. "I don't like the sound of this. . . ."

"Close 'em already!" he ordered.

I shut my eyes and waited. There was a muffled noise from somewhere inside the broom closet, followed by the faint sound of sneakers squeaking on the floor.

"All right, y' can open 'em now," Spuckler said finally.

I opened my eyes and saw . . . well, me.

It was the Akiko robot, the same one Bip and Bop had used before to replace me here on Earth while I was off having adventures on the planet Smoo. She was wearing the same clothes I was and looked exactly like me in every way. Okay, her posture was a little better than mine, but otherwise she was a perfect copy.

"Hi, uh . . . Akiko," I said to her.

"Hello, Akiko," she returned with a smile.

"Thanks again for taking my place last time," I said. "You did a really good job. Even my parents didn't know."

"You're very welcome," she replied. "It was my pleasure."

"Of course, there is the matter of that grade you got on my geography test," I added with a wink.

"I'm sorry, Akiko." The robot hung her head sheepishly. "This time I promise I'll get much better grades on all your tests."

"This time? Whoa! Wait a minute," I said, turning to Spuckler. "You're not here to take me to Smoo again, are you?"

"Naw, 'Kiko," Spuckler answered reassuringly. "You seen enough a Smoo t' last a lifetime."

I was relieved, but also just a tiny bit disappointed.

"That's good," I said, crossing the room and pulling the shades down over the windows. "I was afraid you had me lined up for another weird prince-rescuing mission or something."

"No missions, 'Kiko," Spuckler explained. "No work, neither. We're here t' take ya on vacation!"


"All expenses paid by King Froptoppit," Spuckler continued with a gleam in his eyes. "'S just his way of thankin' ya for all the trouble ya went through rescuin' his son."

"Gee, I don't know," I said. "My school doesn't go on vacation again until Christmas. . . ."

"What are ya, nuts?" Spuckler chuckled. "We got a look-alike 'Kiko here, li'l lady. You can take off school any time ya want."

plI paced back and forth and stroked my chin while I thought it over. I have to admit, a little break from school sounded pretty good to me right then. There was that big history test coming up in Mrs. Riffin's class, for one thing.

"A vacation, eh?"

"Tha's right," Spuckler said, grinning. "A real humdinger, too: the planet Quilk! There ain't no place like it in the whole dang universe."

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created Akiko.

From the Hardcover edition.

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